Dementia Treatment, Sings, and the Most Common Causes
Dementia is a syndrome that encompasses a group of symptoms that affect memory, thinking, and social abilities that may prevent you from performing everyday tasks. It’s not defined as a disease, but it can be caused by various illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s. The truth of the matter is that as people age we will all undergo neurological deterioration and some form of dementia. For now the only treatment is prevention and slowing the process to maintain as much neural activity, plasticity and function as possible.
It’s typically followed by a memory loss. However, memory loss doesn’t always indicate the presence of dementia since some other factors can trigger it, too.
Different factors and underlying diseases can also cause dementia. Depending on the cause, dementia symptoms can even be reversible but often we can expect some improvement with focus to be slowing degeneration.
Dementia treatment methods are different. Apart from drugs and therapies your doctor may prescribe, you should also consider some alternative ways that may help you mitigate the signs of dementia – acupuncture, Chinese herbs and functional neurology for example.
Acupuncture and herbs are a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), while Functional Neurology is a combination of physical therapy and fuctional medicine. They have been used for treating neurological conditions for a significant period of time, are natural and pose little to no risk or side effects. They are performed by a certified practitioner, who’ll lead you through the procedure and help you enhance your overall health.
What are the Signs of Dementia?
Dementia symptoms may vary depending on the factor that caused the illness. Still, here are some common signs affected people may experience:
Dementia significantly affects a person’s cognitive skills, which often results in:
- Affected coordination and motor functions
- Changes in spatial abilities (getting lost, for example)
- Difficulty communicating or finding words
- Difficulty planning and organizing
- Difficulty reasoning and problem-solving
- Disorientation and confusion
- Memory loss, often observed by a spouse, family member, or someone else
- Problems with handling complex tasks.
Due to damage or loss of nerve cells and their connections in the brain, affected people experience certain mental changes that may include:
- Changes in personality
- Inappropriate behavior
It’s vital to visit a doctor if you notice that someone you love goes through some of the mentioned dementia symptoms. The sooner you react, the more the chances you have to mitigate the signs caused by this illness and treat the underlying condition that might be triggering the death of brain cells.
Causes and Types of Dementia
Many factors can cause dementia. Depending on the brain area that’s affected, it can provoke different symptoms, and people may experience different sings. Therefore, dementias are grouped by what they have in common, thus by the factors that caused their onset.
Progressive Types of Dementia
Some dementias are progressive, which means that they can hardly be treated. However, adequate therapies may help reduce the symptoms and allow affected people to continue with their life.
Such types include:
- Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Exact factors that trigger its development are unknown, but genetics is considered one of the reasons why some people are more prone to it. It can’t be cured, but proper treatments can mitigate its common symptoms.
- Vascular dementia is another common type of dementia, and it’s caused by damage to the vessels that supply blood to your brain. It’s followed by difficulties with problem-solving, slowed thinking, organization, and focus.
- Lewy body dementia is caused by clumps of protein (Lewy bodies) that are commonly found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It usually causes hallucinations, acting out one’s dreams in sleep, and issues with focus and attention.
- Frontotemporal dementia encompasses a group of diseases caused by the breakdown of nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobed of the brain. Such areas are associated with personality, language, and behavior, which is why affected people often experience changes in those aspects.
- Mixed dementia is characterized by a combination of several causes, and it’s commonly found in people 80 and older who already have neurological issues.
Progressive dementias can hardly be cured, but the symptoms can be treated with adequate therapies and medications. On the other hand, if dementia is caused by an underlying disease that can be reversed, its consequences can be successfully eliminated.
If your doctor or certified practitioner determines that the cause of your dementia is a condition you already have, he/she can implement a therapy aimed at healing that particular condition. That way, the symptoms of dementia can be significantly handled.
The most common underlying causes include:
- Infections and immune disorders, such as fever, Multiple sclerosis, and other conditions.
- Metabolic problems and endocrine abnormalities, including thyroid problems, low blood sugar, and problems absorbing vitamin B-12.
- Nutritional deficiencies such as not drinking enough water, not getting enough vitamins (especially vitamin E, B-6, and B-12), and chronic alcoholism.
- Side effects of drugs, reactions to medications, or an interaction of several medications.
- Hematomas or bleeding between the surface of the brain.
- Poisoning or exposure to heavy metals (especially lead) and pesticides, as well as heavy drug and alcohol use.
- Brain tumors are not a common cause of dementia, but they can be.
- Anoxia or oxygen deficiency that comes as a result of sleep apneas, asthma, heart attack, or other factors.
- Normal-pressure hydrocephalus, caused by enlarged ventricles in the brain, often leads to walking problems, urinary difficulty, and memory loss.
Ignoring the symptoms can be fatal. Dementia can cause a lot of health complications such as pneumonia, as well as many personal safety challenges that could be even more dangerous. Such complications may lead to injuries, infections, and even death.
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The 7 Dementia Stages
Affected people often come through 7 stages of dementia that worsen gradually:
- Stage 1: The earliest and mildest stage of dementia in which a person feels no changes and has no problems.
- Stage 2: Patient will start to feel certain impairments, but he/she can still function independently.
- Stage 3: This stage comes with mild impairments. The patient notices difficulties while performing daily activities.
- Stage 4: The patient needs help with performing everyday activities due to moderate impairments he/she experiences.
- Stage 5: This stage brings moderate to severe impairment.
- Stage 6: Patients are unable to function independently due to severe impairments.
- Stage 7: The most severe impairments that cause the failure of body and mental functions.
Dementia vs. Alzheimer: Two Different Concepts
Although these two concepts seem the same, the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is quite significant.
Dementia is an umbrella term for conditions that affect memory, language, thinking, and problem-solving skills. Alzheimer’s disease is a disease, and it’s described as the most common cause of dementia. It can also fall under the category of dementia.
Some types of dementia can be reversed, while Alzheimer’s disease can’t. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can be treated, but the condition itself can’t be cured.
The Most Efficient Dementia Treatment Options
Even though most types of dementia can’t be cured, some ways can help you manage your symptoms. The most common methods prescribed by a doctor include medications such as inhibitors, memantine, and other medicines that treat depression, hallucinations, sleep disturbances, and similar inconveniences due to dementia.
Effective options you can use as a complementary treatment for dementia include alternative medical approaches such as acupuncture and herbs. They are believed to be useful for mild cognitive impairment, especially when you combine them with other treatments that originate from Western medicine.
Acupuncture for Dementia
Acupuncture is the most popular form of Eastern medicine, and it has been used for treating different kinds of diseases for over 4,000 years. It’s an entirely safe and efficient procedure that can help you deal with many inconveniences caused by dementia, including stress, anxiety, depression, sleep issues, and more.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine and stainless steel needles into specific acupoints. These points are frequently located near nerves and centers of circulation in the body and can stimulate the various body systems: nervous, circulatory, and immune. Functional MRI’s have been used in research to demonstrate acupuncture’s powerful effects in terms of modern Western medicine. Qi, the energy acupuncture was said to influence, may best be defined as a person’s ability to perform the vast array of chemical and metabolic processes.
Therefore, stimulation of particular areas of the body can “wake up” the stuck energy, bring balance, and enhance overall health.
Recent studies have demonstrated that acupuncture can successfully treat and reduce symptoms of numerous neurological conditions, especially vascular dementia. It’s both safe and effective.
Practitioners tend to implement both body & scalp acupuncture for treating patients affected by dementia. Scalp acupuncture is generally used for handling neurological disorders, and it’s often combined with electrostimulations since it gives better outcomes that way.
Scalp Acupuncture for Dementia
Scalp acupuncture is characterized by stimulating specific areas of the scalp that lie over hyperfunctioning, atrophied, or injured brain tissues. Their stimulation will increase blood flow, oxygenation, and lead to enhanced function of brain tissues.
Your practitioner will determine the exact number of treatments, and you can expect better and more permanent results if you start with the treatments right after you’ve been diagnosed with dementia.
When it comes to vascular dementia, scalp acupuncture and supplements have provided remarkable outcomes. Namely, it can improves cognitive skills, abilities to perform daily tasks, reduces dementia symptoms, enhances mental state, and improves social behavior for patients. More importantly it may help to stabilize and slow the degenerative process especially when combined with functional neurology rehabilitation.
Can Acupuncture Help Dementia from Brain Atrophy?
Brain atrophy, also known as cerebral atrophy, is a loss of brain cells (neurons). It comes as a result of different diseases that damage the brain, including Alzheimer’s and stroke, provoking memory loss, and the damage of thinking abilities.
One of the most common brain atrophy symptoms is dementia. If you start treating the signs of dementia with acupuncture on time, you can prevent brain atrophy, memory loss, and other inconveniences that might prevent you from performing everyday activities.
Alternative Treatment for Dementia: Vitamins and Minerals
Herbal and natural remedies are becoming more and more popular solutions for treating neurological conditions in a drug-free way. Despite their general efficiency, herbs shouldn’t be used without previous consultation with your practitioner, who’ll determine the right herbal therapy for your condition and symptoms you’re experiencing.
People with vascular dementia may use herbs similar to those used for treating Alzheimer’s since the symptoms often overlap. That said, you should enhance your diet with the following ingredients:
- Aromatherapy is convenient for improving people’s thinking abilities.
- Bright light therapy may help patients regulate their sleeping habits, primarily when performed in the morning.
- Coconut oil is efficient for improving memory performance and reducing cognitive decline.
- Coenzyme Q10 is a useful antioxidant that improves body functions.
- Coral calcium is derived from seashells and sea life, which is why it’s richer than calcium we typically get from food.
- Omega-3 fatty acids reduce cognitive impairment, and you can find them in fish, nuts, and certain oils.
You should know that neither of the mentioned supplements guarantees improvements and recovery. They might bring specific improvements and postpone cell death, but you shouldn’t take them without your practitioner’s consent.
Chinese Herbs for Dementia
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been widely used as a complementary treatment for various conditions. It’s quite popular because of its drug-free philosophy, overall efficiency, and the fact that it’s free of side effects.
Apart from addressing a particular condition, Chinese herbal medicine is aimed at enhancing a person’s overall health and boosting the immune system. Practitioners tend to create unique herbal formulas in line with their patient’s health and severity of their illness, making sure such formulas bring the expected improvements.
Chinese herbs are particularly convenient for treating asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other critical aspects of the human organism whose disturbances could damage the brain and cause a series of neurological issues.
Again, you shouldn’t take the herbal therapy without the consent of your certified practitioner. He/She will determine the right dosage that will improve both physical and mental health.
Other Herbs for Dementia
In addition to Chinese herbal medicine, you should also try some other herbs for memory considered useful for treating neurological conditions. They often include:
- Gingko Biloba revitalizes and improves concentration by encouraging blood flow to the brain.
- Hawthorn is an antioxidant useful for strengthening blood vessels and removing toxins from the organism.
- Ginseng is an herb that boosts energy and stimulates mental activity.
- Rosemary is vital for enhancing mental clarity and abilities to recall.
Don’t forget to consult your practitioner before you start taking any herbal formula.
Makari Wellness – Dignified Dementia Treatment with Acupuncture, Functional Neurology, Herbs and Nutrition.
Thanks to the holistic approach Makari Wellness implements, the majority of neurological disorders can be effectively treated. Most conditions will see improvement while the overall goal of treating degeenerative conditions is to slow their progress and maximize a person’s well being. Makari Wellness’ methods are efficient for reducing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, and other conditions that effect the activities of daily living. We can help to maximize well being, slow progress and restore dignity.
Contact us today at (888) 871-8889 and start your brain / neuro health journey at our acupuncture clinic.