It is a huge worldwide problem. It’s estimated around 50 million people who suffer from it. That’s insane.
If all the people with dementia formed a country, it would be one of the top 30 most populated countries on Earth (just between Columbia and South Korea)!
And 10 million more are diagnosed every year.
So, yes, as we said, dementia is a HUGE problem.
But what exactly is it?
Well, in this article, we answer some very basic, yet very important, questions about dementia. So, if you’re not sure exactly what it is, read this and, in about 2-3 minutes, you’ll be up to speed.
What is Dementia?
First thing to know is that dementia is NOT a disease.
It is just a term used to describe a group of symptoms. These symptoms are caused by disorders or diseases that damage the brain.
Dementia is progressive. That means it slowly gets worse over time. When it starts out the symptoms are minor. However, over time, they get worse and affect the daily lives of those with dementia.
Dementia usually occurs in people who are 65 or older. However, it can occur in those in their 40s or 50s too (Early Onset Alzheimer’s being one cause of this).
So symptoms do those with dementia have? Well, it varies depending on the underlying cause. But here is a list of some of the more common symptoms…
- Memory loss
- Problems with thinking or problem solving
- Language issues
- Mood or behavior changes
- Difficulties performing everyday tasks
These symptoms will affect both your personal and professional life.
Now just because someone has one or more of the symptoms above, it doesn’t mean they have dementia. Other things can cause these symptoms.
Depression. Stress. Vitamin or hormone deficiencies. Thyroid disease. Infections. Brain tumors.
Many of these are treatable, especially if caught early on.
If you (or a loved one) has some of these symptoms, go see a doctor sooner rather than later. You want to get an accurate diagnosis so you know how to treat things the right way.
Causes of Dementia
There is no one thing that causes dementia. Some forms of it are genetic. Others aren’t.
The most common type/cause of is Alzheimer’s disease. It accounts for 60% – 70% of all cases.
However, there are a number of other types/causes of dementia. These include:
- Lewy Body Dementia
- Vascular dementia
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Fronto Temporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD)
- Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease
- Alcohol related dementia (Korsakoff’s syndrome)
Treatments / Cure for Dementia
Unfortunately for now, there is no way to prevent dementia. And there is no cure.
Researchers around the world or working hard on the problem though. And there have been some promising developments. So there is reason to be hopeful.
For now, however, there are medications available that are helpful in reducing the symptoms. And there are programs, therapies and support groups that can help those with dementia and their families.
If you’re concerned you or a loved one has dementia, please go see a doctor. If the doctor does diagnose you with dementia, know that there are a lot of resources and support available. You are not alone.
Find local memory care facilities or support groups. Reach out to the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. You can find the help and support you need.