The Centre for Disease Control (CDC)calls dementia an umbrella term for a group of disorders that significantly affect the cognitive functions of an individual. It is usually defined by characteristics like memory impairment, difficulty in object recognition, losing the ability to plan or organize, and much more. Understanding what is dementia and its types helps individuals become aware of the warning signs attached to the condition, which can further aid in finding the right help early on. On that note, let us dive deeper into what is dementia and the disorders related to it.
What Is Dementia?
Dementia is a generic term for any disease that causes a change in the brain’s cognitive functions, leading to a significant effect on the individual’s day-to-day functioning. Different kinds of disorders are associated with dementia, including Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, etc.
Warning Signs Of Dementia
Now that you know what is dementia, let us understand the warning signs of the condition. These common and early signs of dementia can help you identify the onset of the condition and find timely and proper help for yourself or your loved ones.
1. Memory loss that affects the regular functioning of the individual: Everyone forgets things from time to time. However, a person with dementia forgets things more often than others and might have to recall recently acquired information.
2. Having difficulty performing regular tasks: A person with dementia might have difficulty in tasks that they have been familiar with throughout their life, preparing their meal, etc.
3. Having language problems: Forgetting words or substituting ones that don’t go with the conversation can also be a warning sign of dementia.
4. Difficulty in keeping up with time or surroundings: A person with dementia might have problems knowing what time or day of the week it is. They might also find it challenging to navigate through familiar places.
5. Having mood and behavioral changes: Having severe mood changes without no apparent cause might also be a warning sign for dementia.
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Types of Dementia
The common types of dementia include the following:
1. Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)
This is one of the most common types of dementia. The symptoms of the disease include gradual worsening of the individual’s memory and confusion. There is no definite cause of the condition. Patients of AD have amyloid plaques (abnormal brain protein) in their brains. However, it is unclear whether the plaque is a cause or result of AD.
2. Huntington’s Disease
Huntington’s disease is a rare genetic neurological degenerative disease that leads to the breakdown of the nerve cells present in the brain. It shows a significant impact on a person’s cognitive and functional abilities. The characteristic symptoms of the condition include movement disorders like involuntary jerking, unusual and slow eye movements, etc. However, in some conditions, memory issues precede these symptoms.
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3. Lewy Body Dementia
Lewy body dementia is caused by the accumulation of abnormal clumps of specific proteins, called Lewy bodies, inside the neurons. Signs of cognitive decline, including forgetfulness, are the condition’s primary symptoms. Other than this, hallucinations also develop as prominent symptoms in other individuals.
Dementia is a condition that can affect anyone and any point in life. That is why having awareness about the condition is of utmost significance. Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Day is an initiative marked every year to increase awareness about the conditions related to dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease. To learn more about the day, click here.
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