What Causes Dementia?

What Causes Dementia?

What Causes Dementia?

Today, we will talk about what causes dementia. Before we begin to talk about causes, we have to have an understanding of what dementia is. The term “dementia” usually means a decrease in mental ability that has the potential to impact the quality of your daily life. It is important to note that dementia is not a specific disease, but a general term to indicate declining mental function.[1] A decline in mental function can mean anything from an inability to think as clearly as before to a worsening memory. One of the most common forms of dementia is called Alzheimer’s disease and usually occurs in people 65 years or older, although it is possible to get it at a younger age.

Put simply, dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. What exactly causes this damage characterizes the nature of a disease. For instance, Alzheimer’s disease is correlated with an increase in certain protein deposits on regions of the brain. These protein deposits are believed to be responsible for brain deterioration, leading to the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s like memory loss, problems with language, and changes in mood. But, as with anything, it’s not so simple. Researchers are still trying to figure out exactly why these proteins develop in the brain in the first place. Once we can answer this question, this will give us a greater understanding of the true causes of certain dementias associated with aging, like Alzheimer’s, dementia with Lewy-bodies, etc.

However, other forms of dementia exist that are not correlated with aging. For example, consider the current controversy surrounding American football. Many college-level and professional football players develop what is called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This is caused by repeated trauma (or blows) to the head as a result of intense physical contact which makes up the game of football. Over time, CTE can contribute to a deteriorating brain (dementia), which leads to memory loss, confusion, and mood changes. Other sports, like boxing and MMA fighting, can contribute to CTE, as well.

As you see, the causes of dementia can be quite different. On the one hand, Alzheimer’s is often linked to genetics, sleep deprivation stress, poor physical health, and a host of other psychological and physical conditions. On the other hand, CTE is due to external trauma to the head of individuals. There is no one single cause for dementia, but the result is usually the same: brain degeneration.

One other form of dementia is called “vascular dementia.” Vascular dementia is caused a reduction in blood that is supposed to nourish the brain. Certain traumatic events, like strokes, can lead to brain damage. Yet not everyone who has a stroke will necessarily develop dementia.[2]

We hope that this post gave you some insight into what the term “dementia” means, how it’s used, and what some potential causes are. If you want to know more, please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.

[1] Source: https://www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp

[2] Source: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/causes/

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