Cognitive impairment is a slowly progressive condition that is typically comes with age, but other factors include genetics, chronic and/or heavy alcohol use, cardiovascular disease, nutritional deficits, sedentary lifestyle and other known and unknown factors may accelerate the cognitive decline and contribute towards the development of dementia. Cognitive impairment and dementia may be characterized by memory difficulties, behavioral abnormalities, personality changes and difficulty with independent living.
Types of dementia include Alzheimer’s disease, Frontotemporal, vascular, Lewy Body disease, Wernike Encephalopathy, Vitamin deficiency dementias, and Parkinson’s dementia among others. Brain imaging may reveal brain atrophy or other changes, but can also appear normal. Some forms of cognitive impairment and dementia may be treatable or reversible to some extent, but most are incurable and get progressively worse over time. Medications may be helpful. Preventive measures are essential.
Other ways to keep the brain healthy include healthy diet, regular exercise, regular cognitive challenges, regular social activity, eight hours of quality sleep each night, minimal alcohol intake, avoid being overweight and proper management of other medical problems. Safety is a concern and most dementia patients need additional help and supervision over home safety, finances, medications, activities of daily living and at moderate to advanced stages, are prohibited from driving.