What is Dementia?

Dementia  is a serious loss of global cognitive ability in a previously unimpaired person, beyond what might be expected from normal aging. It may be stable or unchanging, the result of a unique global brain injury, or progressive, resulting in long-term decline due to damage or disease in the body. Although dementia is far more common in the geriatric population (about 5% of those over 65 are said to be involved) It can occur before the age of 65, in which case it is termed “early onset dementia”.

Dementia is not a single disease, but a non-specific syndrome (i.e., set of signs and symptoms). Affected cognitive areas can be memory, attention, language, and problem solving. Normally, symptoms must be present for at least six months to support a diagnosis. Cognitive dysfunction of shorter duration is called delirium.

Especially in later stages of the condition, patients may be disoriented in time (not knowing the day, week, or even year), in place (not knowing where they are), and in person (not knowing who they and/or others around them are).

Dementia can be classified as either reversible or irreversible, depending upon the underlying cause of the disease.

Some of the most common forms of dementia are: Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, semantic dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies.

For information about coping with Dementia from ‘ Rotarians Easing Problems of Dementia” in the British Isles, go to their site at http://www.repod.org.uk/

One Response to “What is Dementia?

  1. Dick Pratt

    What a wonderful site to inform people about the opportunity to pitch in and help with the monumental job of curing the disease—As a suggestion–There should be an EASY way for interested parties to JOIN the effort—A distinct–HARD TO MISS– “JOIN HERE”—Maybe it can FLASH—I’m not a computer guy and I probably represent a large demographic who would be happy to participate–BUT—We have to be held by the hand and shown the way–It’s got to be EASY—

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