dementia_s21_mri_doctor

WHAT IS DEMENTIA?

pictures of dementiaIt is a series of cognitive and behavioral symptoms which include paranoia, delusions, incessant pacing, anxieties, agitations, hearing voices, phobia, illusions, forgetting routine tasks, and forgetting family history.  This list is not exhaustive.  Everyone is different with their particular set of symptoms.

However, these are the ones which my mom experienced.  She also heard voices, saw false images, and even smelled odors which were not present.  Some days were better than others.

The particular stroke-borne illness which my mom got diagnosed with is called Multi-Infarct Dementia.  She was between 70-75 years of age when those symptoms first began to ravage her mind.

Doctors requested that she see a psychologist/psychiatrist for a mental evaluation.  She made monthly visits to keep track on her mental status.  They then prescribed psychotropic drugs such as Zyprexa and Seroquel to combat the symptoms of Dementia.

 WHAT CAUSES IT?

dementia_s6_healthy_brain_severe_adThe cause is from brain damage by strokes, atherosclerosis, endocarditis, or amyloidosis progressive diseases which attack the brain by interfering with the flow of oxygen to the brain.

Here are some of the root causes which bring about many of the symptoms which I listed above:

  1. Alzheimer

  2. Multiple Infarct

  3. Vascular

  4. Mixed Alzheimer and Vascular

  5. Frontotemporal

This list 1-5 is only partial.  There are other causes.  However, the one that I chose to focus on is Multi-Infarct.  This is the one which my mom had.  Some doctors also refer to it as Vascular Dementia.  If the vascular system within the brain becomes damaged and blood cannot reach brain cells, healthy cells will eventually die. This can lead to the onset of vascular dementia.

WHAT IS MULTI-INFARCT DEMENTIA?

According to MedlinePlus, Multi-infarct Dementia is the second most common cause of Dementia in older people between the ages of 55-75 right after Alzheimer.  It can be caused by a series of mini strokes which damage or destroy brain tissues.  A stroke occurs when blood cannot flow to the brain.  A blood clot or plaques also can block or clog blood vessels which supply blood to the brain, causing a stroke.

pictures of dementia 2That pivotal day so many years ago I recalled well when my mom initially began complaining of mild–then increasingly severe– migraines.  It got so unbearable that my sister and I eventually had to rush her to the emergency room.  There they ran her through a few tests, prescribed pain medication to ease the migraines, and sent her home.  We later made doctor’s appointments to run further more extensive tests on her.  Some are listed below:

  • (EEG) Electroencephalogram

  • Test of thyroid function

  • Blood test

  • X-Rays

  • (MRI) Magnetic Resonance Imaging

  • Blood Pressure readings

medical monitorAfter performing those examinations and tests,  doctors revealed their findings.  They told us that they saw a “small blockage in her head.  They later prescribed her Procardia–a popular high blood pressure medication.  That was it.

Looking back, I sometimes wonder how much more we could had done if we had only known that this would had been the beginning of her years long nightmarish struggle with Dementia.  I also wondered how much more we could had done with home remedies if we had known how much damage this “small blockage” would later cause her.  I still do.

For fourteen years she struggled with it.  Her life consisted of being confined in a hospital bed at home, incontinent, generally not speaking, having contractures and being eventually being fed through a Gastrointestinal Tube.  She lived out her remaining life in the advanced stages of this degenerative disease.

2 thoughts on “WHAT IS DEMENTIA?”

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