The word dementia gets thrown around a lot. The truth is, it is not a specific medical condition but rather a general term that describes a loss in mental abilities. In order to be classified as having it, the decline must be so great that it affects day-to-day living. Alzheimer’s disease is considered a type of dementia.
A Closer Look at Dementia
Despite a common belief, a decline in mental health is not just a normal part of the aging process. When older individuals start to struggle with memory and normal tasks, they are often just labeled as “senile” when in reality they should be diagnosed with a form of dementia. Anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of cases are classified as Alzheimer’s. The second most diagnosed form of the disease is called vascular dementia. This happens after a person has had a stroke. Other types of this condition are caused by things such as a vitamin deficiency, which is thankfully reversible.
Many of the types of dementia start out slowly and then progress. It is important to seek medical help as soon as symptoms are noticed in order to get a proper diagnosis and begin treatment. If you, or someone you love, is having trouble remembering where they left things all of a sudden or is forgetting appointments, it’s crucial to get help.
Due to the fact that the term dementia covers many medical conditions, the symptoms can vary from person to person. That being said, in order to be formally diagnosed, two or more mental functions must be impaired to the point that it impacts daily life. The mental functions that are looked at include:
- Communication and/or language skills
- Ability to focus
- Visual perception
Generally speaking, dementia is the result of damage to key brain cells. The type depends largely on the area of the brain that is affected. Brain cells typically cannot be healed or otherwise “fixed” unless the loss is caused by something reversible, such as a vitamin deficiency, or it will be a permanent condition. That being said, quality of life can be improved with the right approach.
Have further questions about dementia? Looking for a way to help yourself or a loved one cope with it? Turn to Radiantly Healthy MD and speak to a friendly and knowledgeable team member. Contact us today to book your appointment in Indialantic.