Epidemiology brain cells, damaging its internal structures. Through
Posted On June 5, 2019
Epidemiology is a quantitative
discipline that banks upon the acting knowledge of wide – ranging research methods
and statistics to test and develop grounded theories, using behavioural
sciences, biology, physics, and ergonomics to explain health-related
behaviours, patterns, and events. It provides the foundations for leading
practical and suitable public health actions based on science and reasoning
(WHO | Epidemiology. 2017). Originally focused on epidemics of communicable
diseases, epidemiology consequently expanded to address endemic communicable
(infectious) and non-communicable diseases.
Dementia is a progressive
neurodegenerative non-communicable disease. The word dementia is described by
the (Alzheimer’s Society. 2017) as a set of symptoms that may include
difficulties with thinking, problem solving, language or memory loss. These
changes often start off small but often progress to become severe enough to
affect the daily life of someone suffering from the disease, often changing
their moods and behaviours.
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Dementia is caused when the
brain experiences damage often caused by diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, the
most common cause for dementia, in Alzheimer’s disease an abnormal protein
surrounds brain cells, damaging its internal structures. Through time this
results in the loss of chemical connections between brain cells causing them to
die. The first most common symptom of this being memory loss common with
day-to-day activities but other symptoms may include problems with speech,
solving problems and decision making. Vascular dementia is another most common
cause for dementia, caused by reduced oxygen supply to the brain due to a
blockage or narrowing of blood vessels often developed by a stroke or series of
small strokes causing brain cells to become damaged or die. Symptoms for
vascular dementia overlap those cause by Alzheimer’s disease, however, specific
symptoms that individuals may experience with dementia vary depending on which
part of the brain that is damaged, the disease causing the dementia and the
stage of the disease (Harwood, DH, 2017).
According to a 2011 census
conducted by the Alzheimer’s Society 8.5 million people over the age of 65 are
living with dementia in the United Kingdom (UK) 263,700 of whom live in
Northern Ireland (NI).