Get a general understanding of what dementia is, its symptoms, treatment and prevention tips.
Dementia is growing problem in Singapore and the region. In 2020, it is estimated that the number of dementia patients will rise to 55,000 and by 2030, up to 80,000 patients.
Dementia is not part of normal ageing, but rather a brain disease that causes degeneration of specific brain regions. Although early symptoms may be difficult to detect, sufferers may find their mental capacity declining progressively such as memory loss, along with a reduction in their ability to function idepedently.
Dementia stages include:
- Mild Dementia
- Moderate Dementia
- Severe Dementia
In mild Dementia, patients may present with cognitive difficulties such as memory problems, language problems or navigational problems. At this stage, there can be shrinkage in the temporal lobe of the brain, especially for patients with Alzheimer's disease. Changes in mood such as prologed periods of being depressed may also set in.
During moderate and severe stages of Dementia, behavioural changes in the form of suspicious behaviour, hallucinations or agitation are likely to take place.
Hence, it is important to seek early medical opinion so that early diagnosis and management of the condition can start.
Dementia treatment includes the use of medications, and although there is no cure for Dementia, they can help improve symptoms and delay progression of the disease.
As Dementia is preventable, engaging in physical activity 2 to 3 times a week, half an hour each time, has been shown to improve blood circulation to the brain and help reduce brain shrinkage.
Similarly, engaging regularly in mentally-stimulating acitvities such as playing board games and puzzles has been proven to improve brain function. Lastly, adopting a diet that is rich in fish, vegetable and grains can delay the progression of Dementia.
With early analysis and adequate medications, Dementia is manageable. If you or someone you know has the symptoms of Dementia, please consult a doctor.