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Dementia UPSC NOTE



  • Dementia is a term for several diseases that affect memory, thinking, and the ability to perform daily activities.

  • It mainly affects older people but not all people will get it as they age.

  • Things that increase the risk of developing dementia include:

    • age (more common in those 65 or older)

    • high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood sugar (diabetes), being overweight or obese

    • smoking, drinking too much alcohol

    • being physically inactive, being socially isolated, depression.

  • Dementia is a syndrome that can be caused by a number of diseases which over time destroy nerve cells and damage the brain, typically leading to deterioration in cognitive function (i.e. the ability to process thought) beyond what might be expected from the usual consequences of biological ageing. 

  • While consciousness is not affected, the impairment in cognitive function is commonly accompanied, and occasionally preceded, by changes in mood, emotional control, behaviour, or motivation.

  • Dementia has physical, psychological, social and economic impacts, not only for people living with dementia, but also for their carers, families and society at large. 

  • There is often a lack of awareness and understanding of dementia, resulting in stigmatization and barriers to diagnosis and care.

Early signs and symptoms are:

  • forgetting things or recent events

  • losing or misplacing things

  • getting lost when walking or driving

  • being confused, even in familiar places

  • losing track of time

  • difficulties solving problems or making decisions 

  • problems following conversations or trouble finding words 

  • difficulties performing familiar tasks

  • misjudging distances to objects visually.

Common changes in mood and behaviour include:

  • feeling anxious, sad, or angry about memory loss 

  • personality changes

  • inappropriate behaviour

  • withdrawal from work or social activities

  • being less interested in other people’s emotions.

  • People with dementia may not be able to recognize family members or friends, develop difficulties moving around, lose control over their bladder and bowls, have trouble eating and drinking and experience behaviour changes such as aggression that are distressing to the person with dementia as well as those around them.

Common forms of dementia

  • Dementia is caused by many different diseases or injuries that directly and indirectly damage the brain. 

  • Alzheimer disease is the most common form and may contribute to 60–70% of cases. 

  • Other forms include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies (abnormal deposits of protein inside nerve cells), and a group of diseases that contribute to frontotemporal dementia (degeneration of the frontal lobe of the brain). 

  • Dementia may also develop after a stroke or in the context of certain infections such as HIV, as a result of harmful use of alcohol, repetitive physical injuries to the brain (known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy) or nutritional deficiencies. 

Treatment and care:

  • There is no cure for dementia, but a lot can be done to support both people living with the illness and those who care for them.

  • People with dementia can take steps to maintain their quality of life and promote their well-being by: 

    • being physically active 

    • taking part in activities and social interactions that stimulate the brain and maintain daily function.

  • In addition, some medications can help manage dementia symptoms

Why it is in news?

  • Karnataka to come out with action plan to address dementia.

  • While a National Dementia Action Plan is yet to be formulated, Karnataka is working on making it a health priority. 

  • The Karnataka Health Department, in association with NIMHANS and Dementia India Alliance, is all set to launch a ‘Karnataka Dementia Action Plan’.

  • Sources said the action plan is likely to be launched on September 21, which is observed as World Alzheimer’s Day.

  • From an estimated 88 lakh in 2016, the prevalence of dementia is projected to increase to 1.7 crore by 2036.

  • Repercussions of dementia extend beyond individual health, straining the healthcare system, incurring costs, and increasing mortality rates.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Dementia UPSC NOTE
Dementia UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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