Constant Throat Clearing and Dementia

Can Throat Clearing Signify Dementia? Learn More To Stay Cautious

Forgetting to consume food and normal saliva building up in the mouth is a frequent symptom of Dementia in the later stages. This causes periodical throat clearing in Dementia patients. Throat clearing is seen to worsen after meals specifically. Some other indicators of a swallowing problem are listed below:

  • Constant cough whilst eating
  • Grimacing whilst eating
  • Temporarily storing food on one side of the mouth
  • Drooling during eating
  • Prolonged eating time
  • Gurgling sound whilst eating
  • Too much chewing and decreased swallowing

 

What is Dementia?

The state of an individual’s mind that declines gradually and inhibits the daily living style is the standard Dementia definition. It can be addressed as the worsening condition of a person’s mental abilities. A dementia patient exhibits at least two of the following difficulties:

  • Worsening memory
  • Less reasoning
  • Language problems
  • Coordination issues
  • Varied moods
  • Unpredictable behaviour

 

What are Different Dementia Causes?

The regions of the brain associated with reasoning, memory or communication are influenced by any diseases or infection-causing microbes in dementia patients. Alzheimer’s is one of the primary causes. The blood flow to the brain gets blocked, leading to a scarcity of oxygen. A lack of oxygen or nourishment causes the degradation of the brain cells. The different types of causes include:

  • Thyroid influenced
  • Reversible causes like side effects of medicines
  • Lewy body Dementia
  • Vascular Dementia
  • Frontotemporal Dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease influenced dementia
  • Diverse Dementia

 

What are the Different Dementia Types?

The different types of dementia are classified primarily based on the causes:

NumberType of DementiaUnderlying cause
1.Primary DementiaDementia is a central disorder
2. Secondary DementiaOther diseases or controlling factors
3.Reversible DementiaSide effects of medicines or other causes producing dementia-like features

 

Primary dementia is divided into different types as follows:

  1. Vascular dementia: Atherosclerosis or strokes is the main cause of this type of dementia. The blood vessels get blocked, leading to damage to the brain. Other factors contributing to the illness are high blood sugar levels, cholesterol and blood pressure. The patient may get a sudden onset of vascular dementia post a major stroke or after a set of mini-strokes.
  2. Alzheimer’s disease: It is the major type of dementia. Here, two abnormal proteins, amyloid and tau, are formed within the brain cells. Most communication between the nerve cells is disrupted, leading to the death of nerve cells in one or more areas of the brain. About 80 % of people who have dementia have Alzheimer’s. The main symptoms are changes in the personality, chaotic behaviour and memory problems.
  3. Mixed dementia: It is a combined type of at least two Dementia varieties, and Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia are very common combinations. The mental state of such individuals degrades quicker than those with only a single type of dementia.
  4. Frontotemporal Dementia or FTD: This is obtained after damage to the temporal and frontal lobes of the person’s brain. Abnormal proteins are collected in these specified areas, which cause permanent damage.
  5. Lewy Body Dementia: It is when there is a clustering of proteins called ‘Lewy Bodies’ within the brain cells, and such proteins damage the brain’s nerve cells. Sleeping pattern changes, balancing issues, difficulties in normal tasks and decision making, hallucinating, etc., are some of the symptoms experienced.

 

Secondary dementia is divided into different types as follows:

  1. Parkinson’s disease: Dementia is seen in the last phases of Parkinson’s, wherein the patient has trouble speaking, has constant throat clearing, is depressed, hallucinates very often, and loses memory and thinking abilities.
  2. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome: Here, the acute lack of thiamine causes bleeding within the brain due to malnutrition. Consumption of excess alcohol is another cause of this syndrome. Loss of new memories, clearing the throat constantly, double vision, degrading of muscles, and lack of understanding and learning tasks are the common symptoms of this type of dementia.
  3. Huntington’s disease: It is caused by one faulty gene makeup. The brain’s nerve cells degrade and lead to difficulties in body movement, processing information, making decisions, memory problems, and varying personalities.
  4. Creutzfeldt-Jakob illness: It is caused by a type of abnormal protein called Prions within the brain. The clustering of these prions within the brain causes the death of nerve cells. It is a very rare illness affecting only one person amongst a million. Constant throat clearing, dysphagia, memory loss and changes in behaviour are the noted symptoms in these Dementia patients.
  5. Injury to the brain: It is a trauma to the brain with vehicle injuries or sports accidents that leads to this form of dementia. Typical symptoms of dementia may appear much later, like slurred speech, memory loss, mood variation, headaches and changes in behaviour.

 

Reversible dementia is divided into different types as follows:

  1. Infections: Syphilis, HIV infections, COVID-19, Urinary Tract Infections, Lyme disease, etc., are the common causes of the reversible dementia-like symptoms. Bacteria, parasites and fungi can also cause brain damage that causes dementia-like effects.
  2. Endocrine malfunction disease: Cushing’s disease, Hypercalcemia, liver cirrhosis, thyroiditis, Addison’s disease, Hypoglycemia, hyperparathyroidism, and being exposed to heavy metals are some causes of dementia-like illnesses.
  3. Side effects of certain medicines like narcotic pain relievers, anti-anxiety drugs, antiparkinson drugs, statins, nonbenzodiazepine drugs, etc. It also reverses dementia-like situations if the medications are stopped in time.
  4. The deficiency of important vitamins like Vitamin B1, 12, B6, and E also leads to dementia-like illnesses.
  5. Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus is seen when Cerebrospinal fluid is collected within the brain’s ventricles, which causes brain damage.

 

How is Dysphagia Connected to Dementia?

The difficulty swallowing food (Dysphagia) is mostly seen in the later stages of dementia. Those patients who cannot communicate due to dementia often keep clearing their throat whilst eating in an attempt to remove the oesophagus. Sometimes the patient loses consciousness during eating and can choke on the food.

 

Conclusion

Although most primary and secondary dementia forms are non-curable, they can be treated and managed greatly. These patients require a good nursing care plan for dementia and regular dementia medications to control the symptoms. The reversible types of Dementia-like situations can be reversed and cured completely.

 

FAQs

What are the typical signs of dementia patients?

Loss of memory, changes in speech, difficulty swallowing food, constant throat clearing, lack of decision making, anxiety, hallucinations, depression, etc., are some symptoms of dementia patients.

 

Which are the 6 phases of dementia?

No symptoms, very less, mild, medium to severe decline and severe decline are the six phases of dementia.

 

What are dementia fidget blankets?

These are specially made blankets that are the size of a laptop and help dementia patients fidget and calm themselves. They can relieve their anxiety, entertain them and move the muscles of the arms.

 

What are the different types of dementia?

Primary, secondary and reversible are the three types of dementia.

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