Dementia is a brain disease in which a person will lose their ability for certain components of their memory and abilities to perform their usual activities of daily living.
A Answers (7)
Charles Sophy, Psychiatry, answered
Eric Pfeiffer, Psychiatry, answeredDementia is defined as any memory disorder due to the loss of brain cells. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the causes of dementia. Other causes of dementia may include a major stroke, or multiple smaller strokes, traumatic brain injuries, chronic alcoholism or encephalitis. Dementia can also occur in the late stages of Parkinson’s disease or as the result of Lewy Body disease, a variant of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia refers to a loss of cognitive function (an intellectual process resulting in an understanding, perception, or awareness of one's thoughts and ideas). Dementia can be caused by changes in the brain such as those associated with disease or trauma. The changes may occur gradually or quickly.
Dementia is actually a word for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. It is not a specific disease. Individuals with dementia may not be able to think well enough to do normal activities, such as getting dressed or eating. They may lose the ability to solve problems or control emotions and their personalities may change. These individuals may become agitated or hallucinate.
Many different diseases can cause dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease (an inherited movement disorder), and stroke (neurological damage due to a lack of oxygen to the brain). Drugs are available to treat some of these diseases. While these drugs cannot cure dementia or repair brain damage, they may improve symptoms or slow down the disease.
Dementia can be progressive, such as with Alzheimer's disease, or occur for a short period of time, perhaps as the result of a head injury.
Progressive dementia is most common among the elderly. These individuals are usually termed "senile." However, dementia should not be considered a part of the normal aging process. Most individuals who reach their elderly years do not develop dementia.
Some dementia is reversible and can be cured partially or completely with a doctor's treatment. The degree of reversibility often depends on how quickly the underlying cause is treated. Irreversible dementia is caused by an incurable condition (such as in Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's disease). Individuals with irreversible dementia are eventually unable to care for themselves and may require constant care.
Some types of dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's disease, have been linked to genetics. However, most cases of dementia are thought to involve multiple factors besides heredity, such as age, gender, and lifestyle choices.
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Dementia is a general decline in a person's mental abilities that is severe enough to interfere with daily living and activities. It affects memory, problem solving, learning, and other mental functions.
A variety of conditions can cause dementia, including injuries to the brain from tumors, head injury, or stroke; diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease; or long-term alcohol dependence. People (especially older adults) who are depressed may seem to have dementia when they do not (pseudodementia).
People who have dementia often experience:
- Confusion and memory loss.
- Inability to complete everyday tasks.
- Loss of self-control leading to unexpected behavior, such as throwing things, yelling at other people, or being suspicious of others.
- Impaired judgment and reduced ability to make decisions and learn new things.
- An eventual loss of control over physical functions, such as urination.
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Dementia is a decline in memory function. There are different types. The one which is most discussed in the popular media is Alzheimer dementia. This may have a genetic basis in some individuals. In others, the dementia may arise spontaneously. Studies also raise the possibility that certain environmental toxins may play a role, while others may actually be protective. Prevention is the goal with any disease process, and many neuroscientists feel that genetic studies will eventually reveal a ‘switch’ for dementia that will ultimately be able to be turned off, thereby preventing it. At the moment however, we are focused on recommending healthy diets and lifestyles, treatment with medication, and maintaining brain activity as a means to manage dementia.
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital answered
Dementia is a progressive, degenerative disease that attacks the brain and results in problems with memory, thinking and behavior and becomes 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.
Discovery Health answered
Dementia is a collection of symptoms that includes the loss of memory and other cognitive skills, including reasoning, speech and control of motor function.
It is not a normal part of the aging process, but as we grow older our chances of developing some form of dementia increase.