Dementia is a general term that refers to a decline in cognitive abilities, such as memory, thinking, and reasoning, which is severe enough to interfere with daily functioning. It is not a specific disease but rather a syndrome associated with a group of symptoms. Dementia is most commonly seen in older adults, although it can also affect younger individuals.
Symptoms of Dementia
There are various types of dementia, with Alzheimer's disease being the most common form, accounting for 60-80% of cases. Other types include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and mixed dementia. Each type of dementia is characterized by distinct brain changes and symptoms.
The symptoms of dementia can vary but generally include memory loss, difficulty with communication and language, impaired judgment and reasoning, confusion and disorientation, changes in mood and behaviour, and a decline in the ability to perform daily activities. These symptoms progressively worsen over time as the underlying brain damage increases.
The causes of dementia can be diverse. Alzheimer's disease is associated with the accumulation of abnormal protein deposits in the brain, while vascular dementia is caused by impaired blood flow to the brain. Other causes may include brain injuries, infections, certain genetic disorders, and long-term alcohol or drug abuse.
While there is no cure for most types of dementia, early diagnosis and treatment can help manage symptoms, slow down the progression of the disease, and improve the quality of life for individuals with dementia. Treatment approaches may involve medication to alleviate symptoms, cognitive and behavioural interventions, and support from healthcare professionals, caregivers, and support groups.
It's important to consult with a healthcare professional if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of dementia. They can provide a proper evaluation, diagnosis, and guidance on available treatment options and support services.
Harvard Health [Harvard Medical School] information on signs, symptoms, prevention and treatment of dementia: Dementia - Harvard Health