Have you or someone you know been getting more and more forgetful? Sometimes you forget what you’re doing or forget people’s names? You could be experiencing the beginning stages of dementia.
Think you’re too young to develop dementia? Well, keep reading because there is a common type of dementia that affects young adults too.
“Dementia is a condition of the brain that people have problems with their memory and other parts of their brain’s functioning that affects their lives,” explains Professor Leon Flicker from the Western Australian Centre for Health and Aging at the University of Western Australia.
The signs and contributing factors to developing Dementia and Alzheimer’s are different in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than in non-Indigenous Australians.
“The thing that we have found is that the risk factors are a bit different to non-Aboriginal people,” Leon explains.
“The risk factors for non-Aboriginal people, for example men, are that they’re more likely to have dementia than women. Things like head injury are also very important and other factors associated with stroke seem to be more common in Aboriginal people than non-Aboriginal people.”
There are several types of dementia, named primarily after their causes. The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s, Vascular, Parkinson’s related, Lewy Bodies, alcohol related and Frontotemporal.
Alzheimer’s dementia is when some of the nerve cells in the brain stop working and lose connections with other cells. The nerve cells eventually die. Vascular dementia is a type of dementia associated with problems of circulation of blood to the brain.
Parkinson’s related dementia can occur in the later stages of the disease. Parkinson’s occurs when certain nerve cells in a part of the brain die or become impaired.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies is another form that causes loss of cells in the brain. Alcohol related dementia is linked to severe consumption of alcohol. And finally, Frontotemporal dementia can cause dementia in younger adults. Damage to the brain cells begins in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.
Unfortunately there is no cure, however there are ways slow down the process. It is important to become educated on dementia so that you can prevent it.
“It is good education for children, proper nutrition during the early years, good physical activity, not smoking, not too much alcohol and stable employment,” Leon says are preventative measures.
“Once you get conditions like diabetes and other conditions and high blood pressure, then obviously you’re going to have to look after those problems as well.”
If you suspect you or someone you know has dementia, or is beginning to develop some symptoms, a visit to the doctor is encouraged.
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