Certain diseases that affect the blood vessels due to
stroke which can cause multi-infarct dementia. (See Vascular
Excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs.
Deficiency in nutrition such as vitamin B12 and folate
Infections such as AIDS, dementia complex and Creutzfeldt-Jakob
disease. (See Dementia Types)
Accumulation of fluid (hydrocephalus) in the brain can
lead to developmental abnormalities, injuries, infections and/or brain
Head injuries may be a single severe injury or
several injuries as in the case of boxers. (See Dementia
Pugilistica, #8 )
Illness of the kidney or liver, and lung infections
In addition, the following conditions also can cause dementia.
Metabolic problems and endocrine abnormalities:
Thyroid problems, hypoglycemia and inadequate or excess sodium/calcium
levels in the body may trigger mental changes.
Chronic alcoholism could result in a thiamine
(vitamin B1) deficiency seriously impairing mental abilities.
Similarly, Severe deficiency of vitamin B6 can cause
a neurological illness called pellagra that may include dementia
People with AIDS and leukemia
can develop an infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy
(PML) due to common human polyomavirus and JC virus that damages
the myelin sheath covering nerve cells.
Another cause of dementia could be Subdural
hematomas or bleeding between the brain's surface and its
outer covering (the dura) (4).
Poisoning or exposure to lead and heavy metals could
lead to an onset of dementia.
Diminished supply of oxygen to the brain (Anoxia or
Hypoxia) and/or nerve cells in the brain can lead to coma or stupor
in patients within a few hours to weeks, depending on the ...severity
of the oxygen deprivation. (4) During recovery, various
psychological and neurological abnormalities may develop leading to
dementia or psychosis.
Inadequate oxygen supply to brain cells due to chronic heart or lung
problems may also lead to dementia (4).
Alzheimers disease causes 60% of dementia cases while 30% of dementias
are due to vascular dementia and 10% being other causes (7).
Risk factors for dementia have been identified and include:
Age: As a person advances in age, the
risk of Alzheimers
disease goes up and so does the likelihood of dementia.
Genetics/Family history: As explained
in Dementia Types, genetic mutations
play a vital role in passing on the disorders to the offspring. Creutzfeldt-Jakob
or fatal familial insomnia occurs due to mutations in the prion protein
gene. Abnormal genes may also cause Huntingtons
Disease and frontotemporal dementia with Parkinsonism linked to
chromosome 17. (FTDP-17) is linked to mutation of the tau gene causing
Smoking and Alcohol Usage: Studies
suggest that smokers are at risk of developing atherosclerosis
and other types of vascular diseases.
Atherosclerosis: Deposition of fatty
substances, cholesterol and other matter in the inner lining of artery
is called atherosclerosis.
This accumulation of plaque leads to increased risk of vascular
dementia and stroke due to reduced supply of oxygenated blood
to the brain.
Cholesterol: Higher levels of low-density
lipoprotein (LDL) increases the risk of vascular
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