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Understanding Alzheimer's Disease


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What is Dementia?

Stephanie

Dementia is a pattern of mental decline caused by different diseases or conditions. The term itself describes a group of symptoms that includes loss of memory, language, judgement, complex motor skills, and other intellectual functions. The most common is Alzheimer’s disease which causes roughly 50% to 55% of all dementia in persons over the age of 65. Strokes cause another 20% and Lewy body disease, which causes degeneration in the brain neurons, is responsible for another 20%. Other types include alcohol dementia, caused by sustained use of alcohol; trauma dementia, caused by head injury; and a rare form of dementia, frontotemporal dementia.

A person with dementia will eventually lose mental abilities and will gradually become unable to perform basic tasks. Memory loss is usually the first sign, and can be subtle. A person with dementia will eventually have significant memory loss. They may also lose heir ability to communicate effectively, recognize people, perform complex tasks, or think critically.

Depending on the clinical symptoms and the disease causing it, the progression of dementia can vary over months or even years. Other individuals may experience a sudden loss of intellectual function.