Dementia is a term used to describe a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily life.Dementia is not a specific disease, but several diseases can cause dementia. Though dementia generally involves memory loss which has different causes
As the patient ages, late-stage dementia symptoms tend to worsen.
Sometimes, dementia is roughly split into four stages:
Mild cognitive impairment : characterized by general forgetfulness. This affects many people as they age but it only progresses to dementia for some.
Mild dementia : People with mild dementia will experience cognitive impairments that occasionally impact their daily life. Symptoms include memory loss, confusion, personality changes, getting lost, and difficulty in planning and carrying out tasks.
Moderate dementia : Daily life becomes more challenging, and the individual may need more help. Symptoms are similar to mild dementia but increased. Individuals may need help getting dressed and combing their hair. They may also show significant changes in personality; for instance, becoming suspicious or agitated for no reason. There are also likely to be sleep disturbances.
Severe dementia : At this stage, symptoms have worsened considerably. There may be a loss of ability to communicate, and the individual might need full-time care. Simple tasks, such as sitting and holding one’s head up become impossible. Bladder control may be lost.
There are several types of dementia, including:
Other disorders leading to symptoms of dementia include:
Early signs of dementia can include:
Dementias can be caused by brain cell death, and neurodegenerative disease ie. progressive brain cell death that happens over time is associated with most dementias.
However it is not known if the dementia causes the brain cell death, or the brain cell death causes the dementia.
But, as well as progressive brain cell death, like that seen in Alzheimer’s disease, dementia can be caused by a head injury, a stroke, or a brain tumor, among other causes.
Some types of traumatic brain injury particularly if repetitive, such as those received by sports players have been linked to certain dementias appearing later in life. Evidence is weak, however, that a single brain injury raises the likelihood of having a degenerative dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia can also be caused by: