What is Dementia?

Did you know that there are 47.5 million people worldwide living with dementia? By 2030, that number is expected to increase to 75.6 million people according to the World Health Organization. Dementia is overwhelming, not only for the people who have it, but also for their caregivers and families. In addition, a lack of awareness and understanding of dementia often results in barriers of diagnosis and care, as well as miscommunication. The information below will clarify what dementia is, as well as how it is identified and diagnosed. Do your part and share this information with your family and friends to help raise awareness.

What is Dementia?

Let’s begin with the basics – dementia is not one specific disease. Instead, it is a term that is used to describe many things. The term itself is a description of a collection of symptoms caused by a variety of disorders. The most common cause, and one most familiar to you, is Alzheimer’s , which accounts for 60 – 80% of dementia cases. The second most common dementia type is vascular dementia occurring after a stroke (source). Other causes include: Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

What are the Common Symptoms of Dementia?

The Mayo Clinic breaks down the symptoms (or signs) of dementia into two categories: cognitive and psychological –

Cognitive changes

  • Memory loss, which is usually noticed by a spouse or loved one
  • Difficulty communicating or finding words
  • Difficulty reasoning or problem-solving
  • Difficulty handling complex tasks
  • Difficulty with planning and organizing
  • Difficulty with coordination and motor functions
  • Confusion and disorientation

Psychological changes

  • Personality changes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations

The Alzheimer’s Association provides additional resources and information on dementia. Once you know what dementia is, it’s important to understand the early warning signs and how it is diagnosed.

Due to changes in healthcare, a better understanding of Dementia and improvements in treatment –  an American aged 60+ today has a 44% lower chance of developing dementia than someone 30 years ago (source). The best way to help others is to raise awareness and clarity. Join millions in the fight against dementia by sharing this with a friend or family member today.