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Dementia is a collective term used to describe various symptoms of cognitive decline, such as forgetfulness. It is a symptom of several underlying diseases and brain disorders.

According to MedicalNewsToday, Dementia is not a single disease in itself, but a general term to describe symptoms of impairment in memory, communication, and thinking.

Fast facts on dementia

  • there are an estimated 47.5 million dementia sufferers worldwide
  • one new case of dementia is diagnosed every 4 seconds
  • dementia mostly affects older people but is not a normal part of aging

Here are some Dementia symptoms:

A person with dementia may show any of these symptoms, mostly due to memory loss.

Some symptoms they may notice themselves, others may only be noticed by caregivers or healthcare workers.

Possible symptoms of dementia:

  • Recent memory loss – a sign of this might be asking the same question repeatedly.
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks – for example, making a drink or cooking a meal.
  • Problems communicating – difficulty with language; forgetting simple words or using the wrong ones.
  • Disorientation – getting lost on a previously familiar street, for example.
  • Problems with abstract thinking – for instance, dealing with money.
  • Misplacing things – forgetting the location of everyday items such as keys, or wallets, for example.
  • Mood changes – sudden and unexplained changes in outlook or disposition.
  • Personality changes – perhaps becoming irritable, suspicious or fearful.
  • Loss of initiative – showing less interest in starting something or going somewhere.

As the patient ages, late-stage dementia symptoms tend to worsen.

Below are the stages of Dementia:

Sometimes, dementia is roughly split into four stages:

Mild cognitive impairment: characterized by general forgetfulness. This affects many people as they age but it only progresses to dementia for some.

Mild dementia: people with mild dementia will experience cognitive impairments that occasionally impact their daily life. Symptoms include memory loss, confusion, personality changes, getting lost, and difficulty in planning and carrying out tasks.

Moderate dementia: daily life becomes more challenging, and the individual may need more help. Symptoms are similar to mild dementia but increased. Individuals may need help getting dressed and combing their hair. They may also show significant changes in personality; for instance, becoming suspicious or agitated for no reason. There are also likely to be sleep disturbances.

Severe dementia: at this stage, symptoms have worsened considerably. There may be a loss of ability to communicate, and the individual might need full-time care. Simple tasks, such as sitting and holding one’s head up become impossible. Bladder control may be lost.

Check out these treatments for Dementia:

Brain cell death cannot be reversed, so there is no known cure for degenerative dementia.

Management of disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, is instead focused on providing care and treating symptoms rather than their underlying cause.

If dementia symptoms are due to a reversible, non-degenerative cause, however, treatment may be possible to prevent or halt further brain tissue damage.

Examples include injury, medication effects, and vitamin deficiency.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can be reduced by some medications. There are four drugs, called cholinesterase inhibitors, approved for use in the U.S.:

  • donepezil (brand name Aricept)
  • galantamine (Reminyl)
  • rivastigmine (Exelon)
  • tacrine (Cognex)

A different kind of drug, memantine (Namenda), an NMDA receptor antagonist, may also be used, alone or in combination with a cholinesterase inhibitor.

There’s no sure way to prevent dementia, but there are steps you can take that might help, here are some risk factors:

  • Smoking and alcohol use.
  • High levels of “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein).
  • Above-average blood levels of homocysteine (a type of amino acid).
  • Mild cognitive impairment can sometimes, but not always, lead to dementia.

Though dementia generally involves memory loss, memory loss has different causes. Having memory loss alone doesn’t mean you have dementia.

 

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