Dementia is characterized by loss of memory and brain function. It is a group of symptoms that several different brain disorders can cause. Common types of dementia include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Parkinson’s disease can also cause dementia.
Find a neurologist at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican who specializes in dementia by calling (702) 616-4900 or using our online tool.
What Causes Dementia?
Unlike what some people once thought, dementia is not a normal result of aging. Every type of dementia is a disease process. The cause of dementia depends on the type:
- Vascular dementia or small vessel disease is caused by disrupted blood flow to brain tissue. Vascular dementia involves poor circulation through arterioles and capillaries, which are smaller vessels than the arteries that cause stroke. Blood clots and fatty plaque deposits are two common causes of vascular dementia. Risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease.
- Lewy body dementia is the result of the buildup of a specific brain protein into an abnormal structure. This is called a Lewy body. Lewy bodies reduce levels of the brain chemical dopamine and cause damage specific parts of the brain. Risk factors include a family history of Lewy body dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
- Alzheimer’s disease is related to the buildup of a substance called tau protein and other abnormal structures in the brain. It disrupts normal nerve cell connections. It’s not known how these abnormal structures are formed or how they change brain function in most cases. One type of Alzheimer’s disease can be passed down through families.
Symptoms of Dementia in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV
Symptoms of dementia vary depending on the specific type. In general, all dementias produce a range of symptoms:
- Poor logic and reasoning skills
- Difficulty with problem solving
- Progressive memory loss
- Inability to perform activities of daily living
Symptoms may be mild at first and progress to severe. Some types of dementia take a slow, gradual course, while others come on suddenly.
Treating & Preventing Dementia
There is no cure for dementia. Doctors and other health care professionals focus on prevention and symptom treatment. Treatments focus on preserving brain function and reducing the severity of symptoms. In general, treatment of dementia may include medications to stabilize mood or improve cognition. Assistance with activities of daily living, such as home health aides who help with dressing, bathing, and more may be necessary as dementia progresses.
Prevention strategies include exercising, eating a heart-healthy diet, and engaging in mentally stimulating activities. Not all types of dementia can be prevented. Researchers believe engaging in brain health activities can reduce the risk of developing some forms of dementia, especially vascular dementia. Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican offerers neurological care for multiple forms of dementia in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.