According to the World Health Organization, 55 million people worldwide live with dementia—a condition that affects memory, language and a decline in cognitive abilities that interferes with daily life. It’s important to note that dementia is, “not a single disease; it’s an overall term — like heart disease — that covers a wide range of specific medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. Disorders grouped under the general term “dementia” are caused by abnormal brain changes,” the Alzheimer’s Association states. There are specific signs that indicate someone has dementia and Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, Urgent Care Medical Director and Physician, Carbon Health, and Saint Mary’s Hospital who explained symptoms to watch out for. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Dr. Curry-Winchell says, “The inner workings related to how dementia affects the brain is multifaceted and can be different for each person. The main findings associated with the onset of the disease are amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, chronic inflammation, decrease in blood flow (meaning less oxygen to brain) and death of cells (neurons) responsible for transmitting information to all areas of your body — which is why dementia can be a devastating disease.”
According to Dr. Curry-Winchell, “Patients with dementia will show difficulty recognizing common places, familiar people or events. Because these neurons (specialized cells) located in the brain have become damaged, preventing the brain’s ability to extract this stored information.”
Dr. Curry-Winchell states, “Everyone has experienced a moment they are lost for words or have difficulty with word retrieval; however, for patients suffering with dementia this occurrence becomes the norm. The neurons (specialized cells) located in the brain become damaged or die, preventing the transfer of information stored in the hippocampus and entorhinal area of the brain that is responsible for your memory. A good example is a plugged hose that can no longer function leading to the inability for water to pass through.”
“What once was a task they could do without giving it a second thought is now very challenging to a person with dementia,” says Dr. Curry-Winchell. “The neurons that are responsible for sending signals to your muscles start to lose their function. An example is a loss of cell phone or Wi-Fi coverage. You physically have a phone but can’t place a call due to loss of connectivity.”
Dr. Curry-Winchell says, “The process of thinking before acting is an exercise performed daily with the choices we make for ourselves and family. If the cerebral cortex is impacted, it could change the way we act and our decision making.”
Dr. Curry-Winchell explains, “Friends and family will notice a person suffering from dementia may start to show a level of indifference to things they used to care about. This can be heartbreaking for a family member or friends to experience. Although physically they remain visible, unfortunately, the core foundation (mentally) of who they are starts to disappear.” And to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.