Forgetfulness (Dementia)

Forgetfulness (dementia) is a disorder that starts with forgetfulness as a result of an illness affecting the brain cells and it usually causes permanent regression in the brain functions. Dementia, also known as forgetfulness/mental decline, is the general name given to a group of symptoms caused by conditions affecting the brain but it is not a disease in itself.

Forgetfulness; causes a decline in the person’s ability to conduct daily activities such as cooking food, doing repairs, using household items, enjoying hobbies, washing themselves, getting dressed according to the severity of their disorder. Dementia patients, in the early stages, try to hide and cover up their forgetfulness thus, at this stage, can only be diagnosed with careful inspection by their family and friends. Dementia starts by forgetting names, confusing people and with short term memory loss problems.

Later on this forgetfulness progresses to problems in the kitchen such as difficulty when cooking food or forgetting the food on the stove, not being able to conduct repairs that they previously could, forgetting how to get home or getting confused and lost. Slow movements and speech, anger due to lack of ability to do things, temper, changes in their sleeping and eating habits and lastly problems in self care and ability to conduct their own daily activities are also lost.

A decline in cognitive abilities such as; memory, attention, language abilities, spatial vision are seen in patients with forgetfulness.

5% of the population over 65 and 35-50% of the population over 85 have forgetfulness. With a rough estimation 60% of the elderly who have forgetfulness will be diagnosed with dementia.

What are the symptoms of dementia?
The symptoms of forgetfulness can be separated under two headings: Mental and spiritual.

The mental symptoms of dementia: progressive forgetfulness (most common), inability to recognise people, no sense of time, inability to do calculations, difficulty in understanding what is going on around them, decline in daily abilities (such as bathing, dressing, eating etc.)

Spiritual symptoms of dementia (in patients with mental deficiency): Unhappiness, anger, inability to control emotions, certain thought deficiencies, seeing visions, behavioural problems.

Is forgetfulness a symptom of dementia?

Forgetfulness is not a symptom of dementia in every situation. Most forgetfulness is due to getting old and has no relation to dementia. Only a detailed doctor examination can determine whether or not the forgetfulness is due to dementia.

Is Alzheimer another name for dementia?

Alzheimer is a form of dementia. It is the most common cause of dementia. Apart from this, there are other causes of dementia such as brain vessel diseases.

What the factors that makes our brain old?

  • Genetic leniency,
  • Depression, stress,
  • Atesclerosis (hardened veins),
  • Trauma to the head,
  • Epilepsy,
  • Low level of education,
  • Obesity,
  • Hypertension, Hyperlipidemia, Diabetes mellitus,
  • Smoking, alcohol consumption
  • Thyroid diseases,
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency (neuroanemic syndrome),
  • Dementia (Alzheimer etc.),
  • Brain tumour.

To keep a healthy brain:

  • Try to stay away from stress, worry and sadness,
  • Control your weight with healthy nutrition,
  • Consume products that are rich in antioxidants,
  • Develop a good and quality sleeping and eating routine,
  • Stay away from cigarettes and alcohol,
  • Do regular exercise suitable for your age,
  • Communicate with people, join social activities,
  • Continuously learn new and complex information,
  • Play games that require brainwork such as puzzles, cards, chess etc.,
  • Read books, listen to the radio, watch television. When doing these make comments on them and join discussions.
  • Try to learn words in other languages,
  • Take part in activities such as meditation or yoga,
  • Hold your family and friendship ties strong,
  • Do not retire, always stay active and work towards an aim,
  • Live a planned life,
  • Go to routine doctor check-ups and follow your doctor’s advice on health.