What is Dementia?

Dementia is a progressive, degenerative disease that attacks the brain and results in problems with memory, thinking and behavior.  It can become severe enough to interfere with a person’s ability to work and to take care of everyday tasks such as bathing, cooking, dressing and grooming.  Dementia is not a normal part of aging.

 

The symptoms of dementia include trouble learning new things, trouble remembering things that were known in the past, trouble with abstract thinking, poor judgment, speaking well, carrying out motor tasks, recognizing or naming objects, and trouble being able to work or carry on a normal social life.  Sometimes, people with dementia also develop anxiety, depression, suspiciousness, agitation, wandering, confusion or verbal abuse.

 

Dementia always has a physical cause.  The most common dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, is caused by changes in the structure of the brain that may develop because of genetic inheritance, a chemical imbalance, a viral infection, environmental toxins or for other reasons.

 

There is no cure for dementia, but many of the symptoms can be treated or managed so the person can remain comfortable and function independently for as long as possible.  Good medical care is very important so that general health can be maintained.  Medication can also be prescribed when needed for agitation, anxiety, depression, impulsive behaviors or insomnia.

 

If you would like more information, contact The Alzheimer’s Association, at 800-272-3900, or visit them online at www.alz.org.

 

Phone code: 1761

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