What is Dementia?
Dementia is not a specific disease, but rather an overall term of describing a range of symptoms that are associated with a decline in mental ability or memory skills that interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s Disease currently accounts for 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases, with the second most common being vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke.
What are the symptoms of Dementia?
While the symptoms of dementia can vary, at least two of the following core mental functions must be significantly impaired for the ailment to be considered dementia:
- Communication and language
- Ability to focus and pay attention
- Reasoning and judgment
- Visual perception
A lack of short-term memory is typically a large problem for most patients suffering from dementia. Remembering things such as the location of a purse or wallet, paying bills, planning meals, scheduling appointments, and traveling out of the neighborhood may become challenging for those suffering from dementia. Symptoms also can gradually worsen over time.
What causes Dementia?
Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. This damage causes difficulties within the brain cells’ communication, and directly affects thinking behavior. Changes in the brain that cause dementia are usually permanent and worsen over time.
The Ten Warning Signs of Dementia
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding visual images or spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood or personality
Treatments for dementia can vary, but currently there is no cure and no treatment that slows its progression. There are, however, drug treatments and therapies that may temporarily improve symptoms. For more information on the treatment of dementia, contact Centerville Medical Center today at (972) 807-6016.