- Metabolic disorders: Diseases of the liver, pancreas or kidneys can lead to dementia by disrupting the balances of salts and other chemicals in the blood. Often, these changes occur rapidly and affect the person’s level of consciousness. This is called delirium. Although the person with delirium, like the person with dementia, cannot think well or remember, treatment of the underlying disease may fully reverse the condition. If the underlying disease persists, however, brain cells may die, and the person willhave dementia.
- Hormone disorders: Disorders of hormone-secreting and hormone-regulating organs such as the thyroid gland, the parathyroid glands, the pituitary gland, or the adrenal glands can lead to hormone imbalances, which can cause dementia if not corrected.
- Poor oxygenation (hypoxia): People who do not have enough oxygen in their blood may develop dementia because the blood brings oxygen to the brain cells, and brains cells need oxygen to live. The most common causes of hypoxia are lung diseasessuch asemphysema or pneumonia. These limit oxygen intake or transfer of oxygen from the airways of the lungs to the blood. Cigarette smoking is a frequent cause of emphysema. It can worsen hypoxic brain damage by damaging the lungs and also by increasing the levels of carobon monoxide in the blood. Heart disease leading to congestive heart failure may also lower the amount of oxygen in the blood. Sudden, severe hypoxia may also cause brain damage and symptoms of dementia. Sudden hypoxia may occur if someone is comatose or has to be resuscitated.
As recorded to myself 8-11-2011