Dementia is a debilitating condition that affects nearly one million people in the UK, with this figure estimated to grow substantially over the coming decades. The gradual progression of the condition and mild early-stage symptoms, however, can mean that diagnosis of dementia is often missed, meaning that the true figure is unknown. But what actually causes dementia, and how can individuals and those living with dementia ensure the best possible quality of life?
At Avante Care & Support, our aim is to help everyone understand more about dementia and living with the condition, making a positive impact on the lives of those living with dementia and their loved ones.
Types of dementia
While there is no one form of dementia, it’s widely accepted that dementia is the most suitable term to describe the symptoms occurring due to a decline in brain function. While this may seem somewhat broad, it encompasses a number of diseases that are ultimately responsible for the abnormal build-up of proteins in the brain. These build-ups subsequently cause nerve cells to function poorly and ultimately die; in turn, this causes different areas of the brain to shrink, thereby impacting function and affecting day-to-day life.
The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which is caused by build-ups of the amyloid and tau proteins. These proteins cause a decrease in neurotransmitters sending signals through the brain and particularly impact the area responsible for forming new memories.
Vascular dementia is another common form, with this type causing reduced blood flow to the brain, leading to the eventual killing of brain cells. This form of dementia often occurs in those that have experienced a single stroke of a number of mini strokes. Additional – and rarer – types of dementia include frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s disease, and dementia with Lewy bodies.
Who can it affect?
Like many medical conditions, dementia doesn’t discriminate, but it is more common for it to affect those aged over 65. Of course, in certain instances, such as vascular dementia, the result of a stroke or a series of mini strokes can lead to the onset of the condition. As such, factors such as high blood pressure, physical inactivity, alcohol abuse, smoking and poor diet can all contribute to the onset of dementia in later life.
What help is available?
If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with a form of dementia, you can rest assured that there is plenty of support available. Your GP and local authority will help develop a care plan, as well as conduct needs and finance assessments that will determine any care support that you require and can afford. Depending on the extent of the condition, those living with dementia may be able to remain in their own home or move into a suitable care facility that will help deliver the full range of care needs required.
At Avante Care & Support, we tailor care for those living with dementia and provide the utmost in friendly, capable support. Whether at home or one of our care properties, we can help those living with dementia remain independent and get the most from life. Get in touch with us today to discuss your needs.