Important Notice: Dementia Society of America (DSA) does not provide medical advice. The contents are for informational purposes only and are not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Where does one get the truth about Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of Dementia? Right here.
We have collected definitions we believe will be helpful to you. We also offer a variety of presentations and programs to help people living with these conditions and their families and caregivers. You don’t have to make this journey alone. We can help. Access additional Dementia resources here.
A broad factual definition of Dementia from the U.S. Government:
"Dementia is not a specific disease. It is a descriptive term for a collection of symptoms that can be caused by a number of disorders that affect the brain. People with dementia have significantly impaired intellectual functioning that interferes with normal activities and relationships.
They also lose their ability to solve problems and maintain emotional control, and they may experience personality changes and behavioral problems, such as agitation, delusions, and hallucinations. While memory loss is a common symptom of dementia, memory loss by itself does not mean that a person has dementia. Doctors diagnose dementia only if two or more brain functions - such as memory and language skills -- are significantly impaired without loss of consciousness.
Some of the diseases that can cause symptoms of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease (AD), vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Doctors have identified other conditions that can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms including reactions to medications, metabolic problems and endocrine abnormalities, nutritional deficiencies, infections, poisoning, brain tumors, anoxia, or hypoxia (conditions in which the brain’s oxygen supply is either reduced or cut off entirely), and heart and lung problems. Although it is common in very elderly individuals, dementia is not a normal part of the aging process"*
Moreover, recent studies have found that newer brain scans may point to other causes of Dementia in approximately one-third of presumed AD cases, thereby helping avoid an Alzheimer’s disease misdiagnosis which in turn, may lead to better treatment and care.**
A really important concept to grasp is that the symptoms of Dementia often go beyond memory loss. They can include significant shifts in mood, more falls, disturbed gait (how we walk), and more.
In addition, hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia are not uncommon.***
*Sources- 2015, United States National Institutes of Health: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Additional Sources- Read updated information from NIH; click here. Mayo Clinic has a nice brief definition; click here.
National Institute on Aging maintains an excellent site; click here. World Health Organization, click here.
**Source- 2019, click here.
***Source- 2021; For more on these subjects, consult this third-party resource, www.morethanmemoryloss.com
Click below on the various terms to learn more about both common and more rare conditions, syndromes and diseases, that can cause, or include symptoms leading to Dementia:
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*** Takes you to a non-DSA website.