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Dementia is a terrible disease that affects a mind bogglingly high number of people in the United States and worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 50 million people have dementia at any one time. Although we all know someone who has suffered from dementia, there are still some common misconceptions about the condition that are very prevalent in society today.
There is the common belief that dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are the same thing. This is untrue. The truth is that Alzheimer’s Disease is just one form of dementia. There are over 400 types of dementia, believe it or not. The most common are Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia. Some of the other common forms of dementia include:
People with Alzheimer’s Disease will always have dementia, but not everyone with dementia has Alzheimer’s Disease.
Another common misconception is that dementia is just part and parcel of getting older. Most of us think that dementia is a perfectly normal part of the aging process. It isn’t. While some short term memory loss is a natural part of the aging process, the depth of memory loss and the cognitive decline caused by dementia are not.
For example, an elderly person suffering from normal memory loss may forget a persons name momentarily, someone with dementia may completely forget who others are. Similarly, while someone suffering from normal memory loss may occasionally forget to lock the door at night, an elderly person with dementia may forget that their spouse and parents are dead. There is a considerable difference between normal memory loss and that caused by dementia.
This is why knowing the symptoms of dementia is so vital. The earlier dementia is diagnosed, the better the treatment options for the patient.
There are a great many symptoms of dementia and they vary to a large degree from one form of the disease to another. However, the most common symptoms include:
There are many stages of dementia as it is a degenerative disease. By spotting the warning signs in the early stages, it is possible to slow the progression of the disease significantly. For this reason, family members can’t be too vigilant when keeping an eye on their older loved ones. Dementia is a nasty disease. If left unchecked for long enough, it can have an immeasurably negative impact on the quality of life for our nearest and dearest. However, there are treatments available. With raised awareness and early detection dementia can be almost stopped in its tracks altogether, ensuring that our loved ones enjoy their final years as they should.