According to the Alzheimer's Association there are approximately 5.3 million people with Alzheimer's disease and related senile dementias in the United States and over 27 million worldwide suffering from these conditions. The cost of senile dementia care is estimated to be $315.4 billion annually. There are more than 50 conditions that result in senile dementia. One person can have more than one form of senile dementia. Discussed here are the more common causes of senile dementia. Vascular dementia is much less likely to occur in individuals who practice healthy lifestyle habits.
Definition # Senile dementia is not a specific disease, but rather a group of symptoms that are caused by changes in the functioning of the brain. There are many and varied symptoms that have to do with cognition. Cognition refers to the act of thinking, perceiving, and learning. Cognitive functions that may be affected are decision making, judgment, memory, spatial orientation, thinking, reasoning, and communication.Behavior and personality changes are likely to occur depending on what areas of the brain are affected. Most senile dementias are much more likely to happen in old age. Alzheimer's Disease # Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of senile dementia. It accounts for almost half of all cases. It is, at least in part, a genetic disorder. Its hallmark is the formation of amyloid plaques and neurofibratory tangles. As these abnormal proteins increase in number, brain cells are destroyed, and therefore new memories cannot be formed. As the disease progresses, the abnormal proteins spread to more parts of the brain, causing more cell death and more severe memory loss and brain malfunction. Vascular Dementia # The second most common cause of senile dementia is vascular dementia. It is also called mullti-infarct dementia. This type accounts for about one third of all dementias. In this dementia, the arteries in the brain harden because of fatty deposits and accumulation of other debris. This in turn causes blockage of blood flow. The cells of the brain do not get the oxygen they need, and they die. Other diseases and conditions ,such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes, can increase the memory loss associated with this dementia. Very often there is a combination of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. Frontotemporal Lobe Dementias # It is estimated that frontotemporal lobe dementia accounts for about 10% of all senile dementias. The damage, as the name suggests, is in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. One particular type of this dementia is Pick's Disease. It is causeed by an increased number of Pick Bodies in the brain. These bodies cause cell death. As this and other frontotemporal lobe dementias progress, socially inappropriate behavior increases. Language is lost as more cells in these lobes of the brain die off. Lewy Body and Parkinson's Dementia # Lewy body dementia is caused....read all of What Causes Senile Dementia