Definitions | Dementia Society of America

Definitions

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?

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.

DEFINITIONS

 

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, 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"*

 

*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.

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Dementia Society of America - PO Box 600 - Doylestown, PA 18901

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Last Updated

November 2019