What is dementia disease? Dementia is a disease of the brain. It is not a single illness; rather it is a group of symptoms, all of which fall under the umbrella of “dementia”. It is a disease most associated with old age and about six out of every one hundred people over the age of 65 will develop the disease, but people of all ages can develop the symptoms of dementia (although it is much rarer), and it should certainly never be considered a normal part of growing old.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, particularly in the elderly, but there are many others, including strokes, mini strokes, and various hereditary conditions such as Huntington’s disease. Head injuries and tumors can also lead to the symptoms of dementia.
To understand ‘what is dementia’, you need to know what the symptoms are and how they affect the person who has developed the disease. Although there are many different variants of dementia, the symptoms of the disease are all very similar.
Typically a person with dementia will begin to show changes in behavior, personality and mood. The disease is often characterized by aggressive or angry behavior, depression, anxiety, and a person who was once sociable and outgoing may gradually withdraw from friends and family. Sometimes this change is so slow, it can take a while for people to notice; at other times the differences are more apparent and it is not uncommon to feel like the person you know and love is no longer there.
Memory loss is another classic symptom of dementia. To begin with it might be simple things like forgetting names and places, but as time goes on the person will venture out and then forget where they live. They will also have no memory of recent events, yet be able to recall events from long ago. As the disease progresses, memory usually deteriorates even further.
Dementia patients usually lose all interest in life and the world around them. Things like personal hygiene and grooming will be neglected and they will typically forget how to take care of themselves. Confusion will be the order of the day and many people with dementia will have no concept of time, never mind knowing what day it is.
What is dementia treatment and life expectancy?
In most cases, there is no cure for dementia and the outlook is bleak. The only exception to that rule is where symptoms of dementia are caused by a head injury and surgery is an option. Some symptoms of dementia can be treated with medications such as antidepressants and tranquilizers, but in most cases the only treatment is taking care of the patient and helping them to maintain a decent quality of life as the disease progresses.
In the early stages of the disease, a patient showing the symptoms of dementia will probably be able to continue living a fairly normal life, but as the disease slowly ravages the brain functions, the patient will probably require around the clock supervision and may eventually need to be moved into residential care for their own safety.