Many health problems can be a cause. Some common ones are:
- Alzheimer dementia
- Brain damage after many small strokes
- Lewy body disease
- Front-temporal dementia, such as Pick disease
- Huntington disease
- Brain injury
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and other prion disorders
- Parkinson disease
Symptoms start slowly and get worse with time. A person may have:
- Memory loss
- Lack of focus
- Problems making choices or plans
- Problems naming things
- Problems with getting lost in familiar places
- Mood swings
- Slowness when moving
- Pulled away from other people
The goal of treatment is to manage the symptoms. There is no cure for dementia. This can be done with medicines, such as:
- Cholinesterase inhibitors to treat changes in thinking
- Memantine to decrease abnormal activity in the brain
These changes may also be helpful:
- Getting light exercise
- Eating a healthy diet such as the Mediterranean Diet or something like it
- Making the home a calm and safe place
- Getting personal comfort needs met, such as hunger, thirst, and emotions
- Using memory aides
- Choosing a healthcare proxy and a legal power of attorney
The exact cause of dementia is not known. General tips for brain health include:
- Exercise regularly. Aim for 150 minutes or more of activity each week.
- Eat a healthful diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, seeds, olive oil, and fish.
- If you drink, drink in moderation. This means no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men.
- Stop smoking.
- Reach or stay at a healthy weight.
- Manage high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
- Look for ways to challenge and grow mental abilities throughout life. This could mean learning new skills or mental games and puzzles.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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