Dementia is a neuro-degenerative condition, which results in the loss of brain cells and impacts almost everything; from loss of memory to difficulty in concentrating and planning. In fact, loss of language abilities is also one of the symptoms. There could come a time when the patient deteriorates and becomes dependent for all daily living activities.

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Very often family members confuse the symptoms of Dementia for regular issues that accompany aging. Hence, the symptoms go uninvestigated. forgetfulness, confusion, word finding difficulties, substituting one word for another are all probable signs that must be looked into.

Is Alzheimer’s the same as Dementia?

‘Alzheimer’s is a kind of dementia; and depending on the research you read you will find that there are almost 100 different kinds of Dementia. Alzheimer’s is one of the most commonly known ones, and is also one of the first to be found to be a disorder. So while not all Dementia is Alzheimer’s, it is a type of Dementia.’

Age is the biggest risk factor of dementia, and vulnerable age group is roughly above the age of 55 to 60. Some forms of early on-set of dementia can also affect those who are in their mid-40’s. With increasing age, the chances of getting dementia increases as well.

While age and gene related dementia cannot be changed, one can adopt a healthy lifestyle to ensure that dementia is kept at bay.

What are the early signs one must look out for?

Forgetfulness

Please remember that everyone forgets once in a while, and that is not a symptom to watch out for. For instance, you might forget where you have left your car keys, but the differentiating factor is when you forget that you have forgotten something.

Confusion

People with dementia might be extremely confused about their surroundings or where they are. Another common occurrence is the lack of time sense. Patients might wake up at 3 AM and start getting ready, brushing and bathing because they feel it’s early morning.

Difficulty performing daily tasks

Persons with dementia might find performing daily tasks a challenge. For example, if you have been watering your plants on a regular basis and suddenly, just don’t seem to understand how to do it that could be a pointer. Even not understanding how an AC or television remote works can become a difficult task for a person with dementia.

Though there is no cure for dementia, enough research points to the fact that the risk factors can be controlled. Therefore being cognisant of the symptoms and taking action earlier on and having it detected can help the patient prolong the deterioration process.

Common myths about Dementia busted:

Dementia is just a normal part of aging

-Absolutely not. It is a neuro-degenerative disease and not every person above the age of 60 gets it.

Nothing can be done because there is no cure

-While there are no medicines to treat dementia, psychosocial intervention can help improve the standard of life.

All Dementia is Alzheimer’s

-Dementia has about a 100 known types and Alzheimer’s is just one amongst them.

All Dementia is progressive

-Which is also not true, there are some kinds of Dementia caused by the deficiency of Vitamin B12, which, if corrected, can reverse Dementia.

Medicines is the only way to treat Dementia

-While medicines will help to a certain degree, the rest of the treatment is based on psychosocial intervention and must be included in a patient’s routine.