What is Dementia? Dementia is actually a generic term used to define a significant decline in severe mental function which can interfere severely with day to day living. Dementia is certainly not a specific disorder. It is simply a collection of symptoms which may impact on all or some of these functions.
Dementia has been defined as any cognitive impairment or deterioration that results in an impairment of one or more cognitive functions. It has become one of the fastest growing health problems in the US. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is the third leading cause of death related to age in the US.
Dementia affects the elderly very commonly. There is no one type of dementia, but there are four types of them. These include non-fatal forms that are the result of accidents or disease, probable and idiopathic, progressive, and catastrophic. Non-fatal forms of dementia are usually the result of age-related wear and tear or disease, and do not cause impairment in cognitive functions. Pronounced differently, non-fatal dementia is usually referred to as “nonfatal” because its presence does not necessarily lead to death.
Prognosis for Dementia does not exist. It is impossible to predict what will happen to a person who has suffered dementia. However, the most common prediction is that Dementia will cause the patient’s personality to change. Dementia can cause changes such as: difficulty remembering things that you should have forgotten, inability to concentrate, severe headaches, severe memory loss, depression, irritability, and decreased interest in hobbies and social activities. Dementia can also be a symptom of another disorder or illness.
Dementia develops slowly over a period of time, usually about four to six months, with some mild cases requiring little treatment and others requiring more prolonged treatment. The symptoms may develop gradually and steadily worsen until one day they are relatively non-existent. If the symptoms worsen with time they may become unbearable and may require special medical care.
Symptoms of Dementia begin to show in the early years of life and continue through the adult years. They may appear at any time during the person’s lifetime. Some signs of dementia are: difficulty remembering things and information, problems with thinking and reasoning, problems with memory, and making basic decisions, unable to recognize or remember family members and friends, frequent changes in the appearance of the face, neck, hands, and body, difficulty moving around and playing. Some other signs of dementia are: aggressive behavior, decreased creativity, decreased ability to plan ahead, lack of concentration, frequent emotional outbursts, confusing messages (especially in regard to events that have happened recently), sleep disturbances, and difficulty making logical responses.
Dementia symptoms need to be detected before they cause severe functional loss in your life and begin to interfere with the quality of your life. Most of us are familiar with the symptoms we think of when we talk about Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia: forgetfulness, physical health decline, language difficulties, and personality changes such as increased irritability or alcohol or drug abuse. Signs of dementia include the same type of problems as Alzheimer’s but typically occur later in life and are therefore more difficult to diagnose. Dementia symptoms may also include depression, anxiety, personality changes, and difficulty making sense of things.
What is Dementia? Dementia affects millions of people around the world; it is the most common cause of dementia in America and affects about one in five elderly people. It can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms of dementia mimic those of other diseases and conditions, making it sometimes impossible to tell if a particular pattern of behavior is related to the disease or to another medical condition. Dementia can affect anyone, but it does tend to be more common in people who are elderly, have been suffering from a medical condition, or have experienced some kind of trauma. Often times, the first signs of dementia only lead a person to a doctor once they have become overwhelmed with their memory loss and can’t seem to remember what they were told by their doctor or have a reaction to a memory-slowing drug. Dementia has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, so it is important to make sure you’re not on the road to becoming one!