Types of Dementia

There are many different forms of dementia and each has its own causes. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for between 50% and 70% of all dementias.

The effects of the different types of dementia are similar, but not identical, as each one tends to affect different parts of the brain.

Here are the most common forms of dementia :

AIDS related dementia
Alcohol related dementia

Alzheimer’s disease, has two forms :

Familial Alzheimer’s Disease (FAD), also known as Early Onset Alzheimer’s or Younger Onset Alzheimer’s.
Sporadic Alzheimer’s Disease, also known as Late Onset Alzheimer’s. See section below.

Dementia with Lewy bodies: Another common form of dementia, sharing many similarities with Alzheimer’s disease.

Down syndrome: Research has established a link between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease.

Frontal lobe dementia, including Pick’s disease.

Vascular Dementia: The second most common cause of dementia, after Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, a group of brain disorders that impair a person’s mental functioning, especially memory, thinking, and behavior.

The term dementia literally means loss of mentation or thinking. Dementia is a broad term which describes the loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and normal emotional reactions.

Most people with dementia are older, but it is important to remember that most older people do not get dementia. It is not a normal part of the ageing process. Dementia can happen to anybody, but it is more common in people over 65 years of age. People in their 40s and 50s can also develop dementia.

There are many different forms of dementia and each has its own causes. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for between 50% and 70% of all dementia cases.

Asthma Web Links

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America http://www.aafa.org

Allergy UK http://www.allergyfoundation.com

The National Asthma Council Australia (NAC) http://www.nationalasthma.org.au/

The Lung Association http://www.lung.ca/asthma/

Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) http://www.aanma.org/

GINA – the Global Initiative For Asthma http://www.ginasthma.com/

American Lung Association site http://www.lungusa.org/

The Asthma Society of Canada http://www.asthma.ca/

European Federation of Asthma and Allergy Associations http://www.efanet.org/

Heating, Cooking and Asthma

Dampness in housing has been linked with asthma in some people. Research has also shown that asthma symptoms were harder to control in people with homes without central heating. There is no type of heating that is best for everyone with asthma.

Ducted air heating. No medical research has been carried out on links between this type of heating and asthma. However, expert doctors have seen many patients who they would agree have worse asthma symptoms due to the ducted air heating. This could be because more house-dust mites are breathed as the air is re-circulated. Fan heaters and convectors also move the air and dust around.

Gas heating and cooking. Houses that have gas fires and gas cookers have higher levels of nitrogen dioxide. In some people with asthma nitrogen dioxide may cause other triggers to have slightly more effect on their symptoms. There is no evidence to show whether gas central heating increases asthma symptoms.

Wood and coal fires

Wood and coal fires without adequate flues can cause mild worsening of breathing problems, compared with central heating.

Cleaning, decorating, building work and repairs

Asthma and your Household

Various factors inside your home can be important triggers or causes for the symptoms of asthma and asthma attacks.

House-Dust Mites

Many people with asthma are sensitive to the droppings of house-dust mites. These are tiny insects that live in the dust that builds up around the house – in carpets, bedding, soft furnishings and soft toys.

If you suspect or know that house-dust mites trigger your asthma, then you may be able to reduce some symptoms by following all the recommendations below:

    Use complete barrier covering systems on your mattress, duvet and pillows.
    Remove all carpets and replace with hard flooring.
    Vacuum all areas frequently. Use a vacuum cleaner that has good suction and a filtered exhaust that does not scatter dust. Damp dust all surfaces or use an attachment on your vacuum cleaner.
    Remove all soft toys from beds. Put them in a bag in the freezer for a minimum of six hours every one to two weeks to kill house-dust mites.
    Hot wash (at 60 degrees C) sheets, duvet covers and pillowcases once a week. Although some people are allergic to feathers there is no conclusive evidence to show that synthetic hypo-allergenic pillows are any better.

Location

Various factors in the environment and outside of your home can be important triggers or causes for the symptoms of asthma and asthma attacks.

It is often assumed that it is better for people with asthma to live in a rural area rather than in an inner city.

However, research has shown that even in the least polluted parts of the UK, such as the Scottish Highlands, the proportion of people with asthma is about the same as that elsewhere.

There is no best place to live for everyone with asthma.

Living somewhere where a person comes into contact with fewer of their triggers is the best idea, and this is why it is doubly important to identify your triggers for asthma.

Some triggers can occur in any part of the country, such as viral infections or cigarette smoke, while others may vary locally, such as air quality or pollen.

In the UK, you can easily check the local levels of air pollution by contacting the Air Pollution Information Service, run by the Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DeFRA), or on Teletext page 156.

In the U.S and Canada, the Weather Network website has air quality reports for cities in every state and province.

Asthma and Altitude

It is possible that people with asthma are more likely to be affected by altitude sickness.

However, fit, healthy people with well-controlled asthma should have no problems coping with high altitudes provided that they ascend slowly and recognise and accept their limitations, adjusting their medicine if need be.

In freezing conditions, pressurised inhalers may not work properly. They should be warmed (e.g. in the hands) before use.

In addition, the conditions are high altitudes are often dry and cold, and these conditions tend to exacerbate and trigger asthma. People whose asthma is triggered by cold conditions might find that high altitudes are a problem, as the air temperature usually decreases at higher altitudes.

Also, climbing can be a very strenuous exercise and this may trigger exercise-induced asthma in some people. However, people whose asthma is triggered by house-dust mites may find that their asthma improves, as the house-dust mite cannot survive at altitudes higher than ‘the snow line’.

People with asthma who fly directly into a place that is at high altitude will not have time to acclimatise and may experience problems. This should be discussed with a doctor so that the altitude reached by aircraft should not pose problems for people with asthma.

Living With Asthma

It is important that you work with your doctor to make an action plan that you are both happy with. As part of this, you will need to :

    Tell your doctor about all other medications and drugs you are taking, in case one of them affects your asthma.
    Follow your asthma action plan and have regular checkups.
    Learn to use your medication correctly. Ask your doctor to teach you how to use your inhaler. This is very important. If inhalers are not used correctly, less medication gets into the airways.
    If you are having problems taking your asthma medicine, seek your doctor’s advice immediately.

You also need to learn to identify and avoid the things that can worsen or trigger your asthma symptoms. These include :

If animal dander is a problem for you, keep your pet out of the house and/or at least out of your bedroom and wash your pet often, or find it a new home.

Do not smoke or allow smoking in your home.

If pollen is a problem for you, stay indoors with the air conditioner on when the pollen count is high.

To control dust mites, wash your sheets, blankets, pillows, and stuffed toys once a week in hot water. You can get special dust proof covers for your mattress and pillows.