What is Dementia

What is Dementia?
Dementia is an impairment in thinking abilities that persists long enough and is severe enough to interfere with daily function. Dementia is not itself a disease. It is a condition, or collection of symptoms. Many diseases can cause dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause among those over age 65.

Is Dementia the same as confusion?
Confusion is one of the symptoms of dementia. A person with dementia will most certainly be confused at times, but not necessarily all of the time. On the other hand, a person who is confused does not necessarily have dementia. Difficulty with communicating clearly and memory loss are often indications of dementia, but it is not appropriate to assume that someone who is confused or forgetful has dementia.

There are a number of reasons why older people in particular may appear to be confused. Around 20% of older people suffer from depression, which can cause difficulty with thinking and remembering. Interactions between medications can also cause problems. Drug mixes, dietary deficiencies, excess alcohol consumption, and other factors can cause symptoms similar to dementia. Appropriate medical practitioners need to investigate any symptoms of confusion to determine the cause. In some cases the symptoms can be readily reversed. Never assume that just because a person is getting older and shows signs of confusion that he or she is beginning a process of inevitable decline.

Is dementia the same as Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia in the older population but it is not the only one. Lewy Body disease, vascular disease, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and many other diseases also cause dementia. –. There is no simple diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s disease. Assessment can be made using sophisticated medical equipment and sensitive neuro-psychological tests.

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