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Worldwide Medical Insurance News: Dementia 'can reduce independence'

Expatriate medical insurance policyholders may be some of the people who could lose their independence if they begin to experience neurological decline.

Professor June Andrews, director of the Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling, noted that often, after "ten years or so", dementia patients have lost "quite a lot of brain".

This generally results in them having to be "looked after by other people", which is "what makes dementia so sad".

She explained that this word actually refers to the symptoms of a variety of ailments – the commonest of which are vascular disease and Alzheimer's disease – rather than a specific illness.

Individuals with Alzheimer's disease may begin to forget the names of their friends and relatives and miss appointments or events.

Furthermore, mood swings and communication problems can often occur, which may result in sufferers becoming more withdrawn.

This ailment is caused by the brain cells shrinking, Professor Andrews declared.

During vascular dementia – the second most common form – symptoms of stroke can often appear.

The sufferer's capabilities often remain static for a period of time before quickly and rapidly deteriorating, with depression and epileptic seizures sometimes occurring.

Memory problems can happen and difficulty communicating or concentrating are also key symptoms.

This form of dementia is caused when the blood supply to brain cells is cut off, the professor continued.

"In both cases this means that a little bit of the brain stops working," she declared, stating that a person can "survive a long time with reduced brain power".

The damage caused by both vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease is irreversible, but drugs and medicines exist that can alleviate symptoms and slow the illness' progression in some individuals.

People who wish to minimise their likelihood of being stricken with any of these forms of dementia should consider abstaining from smoking, eating a healthy balanced diet, maintaining an active lifestyle and drinking alcohol within the recommended limits.

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