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Confusion and memory loss are the predominantly apparent symptoms

When it is difficult for one to remember, learn and communicate affecting the day-to-day life it is termed dementia. It usually occurs in the second half of our life but it is not necessary that every ageing individual should go through it.

Dementia is caused by destruction of nerve cells thereby the "thinking capacity" of the brain gradually goes down. One of the commonest causes is Alzheimer's disease and in some people the blood circulation to the brain is affected due to certain blockages. Confusion and memory loss are the predominantly apparent symptoms of dementia and at a later stage, a person's moody temperament is more obvious before the agitated and disruptive behaviour sets in. The more problematic feature for the patient and the caregivers is the onset of physical symptoms when the incontinence of urine and bowel movement set in.

The common signs of dementia are: We all tend to forget certain things or small instances but quickly regain the incidents around us but people suffering with dementia cannot be reminded of things forgotten. But surprisingly they talk about incidents decades ago and confuse the ones around them to be those people.

Even regular activities such as cooking which they have been doing for decades can be forgotten. During a conversation they forget the word and use inappropriate words leading to meaningless sentences sometimes.

Next to memory loss in dementia is confusion. Even familiar places around the house, which they regularly go, are forgotten and find it difficult to get back home. They lose the sense of time, as they cannot differentiate the days of the week. They forget their own identity too on occasions.

They may do inappropriate things like wearing thick clothes in summer. This also means keeping things at inappropriate places — like keeping the keys in the shoe rack.

Change of moods

Change of moods from angry and irritable to happy in no time at trivial or no reason is common. They may become suspicious and fearful of their own family members attributing any of their discomfiture being due to them.

They lose the enthusiasm to interact socially with people and refuse to go to places.

If the physical problems such as difficulty in food intake, swallowing, lying down and incontinence of urine and bowel movement develop it means the patient is an advanced stage of dementia. If the memory loss and behavioural changes are predominant the patient is in mild to moderate form of illness.

No cure

Though there is no cure as such for such an ailment efforts are on to find a probable cause leading to rapid degeneration of intellect that would help in delaying the progression of the disease. To improve memory loss and thought process is the challenge.

Alumina, Anacardium, Agnus castus, Aurum met, Argentum nitricum are helpful in the initial stage when the mild form is predominant. When the blood circulation being insufficient being the cause, Gelsemium, Baryta carb, Conium are of good use. When the behavioural changes set in like suspicion, fearfulness, inappropriate social actions etc. Lachesis, Hyoscyamus, Crotalus horridus can help to a certain extent. Plumbum met, Lycopodium and Phosphorus are other deep acting remedies prescribed at different stages of treatment. Needless to say these patients need love and affection, proper communication with patience, good humour and innovation from their families.


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