Overview of Dementia

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Dementia is a syndrome, which is usually of a chronic or progressive nature, which causes deterioration in cognitive function. It goes beyond what is expected from normal aging. It causes changes in what you remember, like appointments, or phone numbers. It may cause you to get lost in a familiar setting like driving to the grocery store. You may not be able to balance your checkbook or add up your points in a card game. Communication becomes difficult; as you cannot find the words you want to say. Your personality may change, you may become paranoid, be crabby or short tempered, and you may say or do inappropriate things or laugh when nothing is funny. Dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide. It’s overwhelming for the people who have the disease and their caretakers. There is almost always a lack of understanding of dementia, which causes obstacles to diagnosis and care. The impact of caring for someone with dementia in families and societies can be physical, psychological, social, and economic.
Dementia is most common in elderly people. It was once believed to be a normal part of aging, called senility; however, scientists know that it’s not a normal part of aging and that it is caused by a number of medical conditions that can occur in elderly and younger persons. In some cases it can be reversed with the proper medical treatment, but in others it’s permanent and usually gets worse over time. Around 4 to 5 million people in the United States have some degree of dementia, and that number continues to increase to this day. “Dementia affects about 1% of people aged 60 to 64, and as many as 30% to 50% of people older than 85. It’s the leading reason for placing elderly peo...

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