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Posted by on Saturday, January 23, 2010, 11:24
This news item was posted in Senility category and has 1 Comment so far.

Senility” is a frightening word. Both to the general public and to many health professionals, it implies severe, irreversible mental deterioration, dependence, and loss of bodily control. Many people think that it is an inevitable part of aging.

These misconceptions help perpetuate the myth that senility is a single entity without a cure. Senility is not a normal part of aging. In fact, “senility” is a rather vague term used to describe a great number of conditions, of which many are curable and others can be improved.

The corresponding medical term “senile dementia” is equally vague. Recently, an attempt has been made by the health professions to define “dementia” more precisely and to differentiate it from other illnesses in which confusion or memory loss may be symptoms.

Dementia senile  is a deterioration in mental function which usually occurs gradually over a period of time and which may involve intelligence, mood, memory, judgment, and orientation. Approximately 10 to 20 percent of people over age 65 have significant mental impairment.

Of these, up to 40 percent have potentially curable or treatable conditions. It is important to remember that occasional forgetfulness is normal at any age. Symptoms such as confusion, memory loss, personality changes, and inability to concentrate do not necessarily indicate dementia senile.

They may be caused by medications; depression; thyroid problems; vitamin B12 deficiency; heart, lung, kidney, or liver disease; tumors; high fever; head injury; and alcoholism.

When these conditions are treated, the dementia senile like symptoms decrease or disappear completely. It is a great tragedy that many older people are misdiagnosed as senile when they are actually suffering from a curable illness or condition. That is why it is important that anyone with such symptoms have thorough physical, neurological, and psychiatric examinations which include a detailed medical and personal history to attempt to determine their cause.

If the individual cannot provide such a comprehensive history, then a knowledgeable relative or friend should be consulted. Even if the illness is not curable, much can be done to reduce symptoms and to help both the individual and her family to better cope with them.

The two main causes of incurable dementia are Alzheimer’s disease (60 percent) and multi-infarct dementia (20 percent). In Alzheimer’s disease changes in the brain’s nerve cells prevent them from working properly, thereby decreasing the number of functioning brain cells.

It occurs more often in women than in men and can occur in middle age as well as in older people. The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown. In multi infarct dementia, blood clots block many of the small arteries throughout the brain, causing destruction of brain cells. High blood pressure and possibly diabetes are thought to be underlying causes.

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1 Response to “Senility”

  1. ohboylet'snotgothere
    20 February, 2010, 20:20

    Senilalty can be feigned? Oh my. Just like the cheerleader with dystonia with her confusing you tube videos and links to jenny mccarthy’s new age agenda. What’s NOT confusing; however is the factual discoveries of her pyschogenic disorder. In short, she really thinks she has dystonia, thus presents as such. Similar cases are seen in the case of psychogenic autism (factitious disorders) where the persons either deliberately feign being autistic or they really believe they are autistic. Normally, you find this in people who have taken large amounts of LSD type drugs, combined with a severly abusive past, thus resulting in a very mixed presentation of whatever it is they feel will bring them the most attention and nurturing. Autism is popular today, so many mentally ill persons are adopting this persona. Mainly, because few, if any professionals or media will challenge such a diagnosis after even a less than competant professional duped by the complexity of the presentation—validates it. Ooops, than it becomes a save face issue, where neither the media or the professionals (not to forget publishers who publish stories that later turn out not to be autistic people) involved in the faulty diagnosis want to be embarrassed. This is unfortunate, as this does a great disservice to the autism community in general. Recall the Amanda Baggs controversy and the case of Ms. Donna Williams. You Tube has a recent video out discussing some of this I’ve mentioned. It is on you tube under the name, “autism spectrum seems out of control” and another video named, “autism epidemic out of control.” The video has most definately hit on something few outside psychoanalytical or psychiatric circles, have even noticed.

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