What is Senility?
Senility, which is now more commonly referred to as dementia, is characterized by a decrease in cognitive abilities. This may include the person’s ability to concentrate, to recall information, and to properly judge a situation. Senility is a deterioration of body and mind associated with advanced aging. Indications of old age vary in the time of their appearance.
What are the symptoms of Senility?
Senility symptoms are many of the physical changes associated with old age:
- Stooped posture
- Wrinkled skin
- Decrease in muscle strength
- Changes in the lens and muscles of the eye
- Brittleness of bone and stiffness of the joints
- Hardening of the arteries
There are also mental changes associated with senility:
- Impaired judgment
- Loss of memory
- Sometimes childish behavior
The actual psychological changes are thought to be related to aging of the cortical brain cells. Whereas the physical changes associated with aging occur in all individuals to some extent, evidence of psychological degeneration is not universal. In common usage, the term senility is applied only to mental deterioration.
What are the causes of Senility?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of senility. This disease begins with difficulty learning or remembering recent events.
Major depression can also cause senility. Therefore, a person showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease should be tested to confirm diagnosis.
Brain disorders can also lead to senility. These disorders may be caused by trauma, illness, or infection. A variety of conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, Pick’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, vascular dementia, Huntington’s disease, strokes, Down syndrome, head trauma, dementia with Lewy bodies, and AIDS can also cause senility. In each of these cases, senility is generally not reversible.
Other diseases or illnesses that can cause senility are sometimes treatable. These include hypothyroidism, depressive pseudodementia, tumors, normal pressure hydrocephalus, and deficiencies in vitamins B1, B12, and A. Individuals who abuse drugs and alcohol are also at an increased risk of developing senility. Similarly, individuals who inhale paint or other substances in order to get high may develop senility.
Over-medication or dehydration may also cause a person to exhibit signs of senility and lead to a false diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
What is Senile Dementia?
Senile dementia is the mental deterioration (loss of intellectual ability) that is associated with old age. Two major types of senile dementia are identified: those due to generalized "atrophy" (Alzheimer's-type dementia) and those due to vascular problems (mainly, strokes). Senile dementia is often used when referring to Alzheimer's disease.