Dementia especially Alzheimer's disease is increasing in incidence among people age 65 and older. It currently represents a major health problem for the United States because of its impact on individuals, families, healthcare, and our society as a whole. Experts estimate that 4 million people currently suffer with the disease. In Columbia County over 1000 people have Alzheimer's or related dementias.
In light of these facts if you or someone you love or provide medical care for has dementia; the following information may be helpful.
What is Dementia?
It is a gradual loss of mental abilities. Dementia is marked by changes in memory, personality, behavior, and thinking abilities. Dementia is not a disease itself but rather a group of symptoms that are caused by other conditions or diseases.
Dementia develops when parts of the brain that are involved with learning, memory, decision-making, and language are affected by infection or disease. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer's disease but there may be as many as 100 other potential causes.
Why Should I Learn About Dementia?
Dementia touches the lives of millions of Americans. People with dementia often struggle just to get through each day. They may lose the ability to do simple things like dressing, cooking or living independently. Family, friends, and caregivers often must provide emotional and physical support. Learning and understanding what dementia is can help you cope with a family member who has it or to help you provide the best possible healthcare to your patients.