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Scientific Breakthroughs & Caregiver Tips
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a general term for changes in brain function that results in problems with memory, thought processes, and behavior. The term is used to describe a cluster of symptoms, and those symptoms may be caused by several different diseases or disorders, as well as injuries or other neurological events.
Symptoms of Dementia
Symptoms of dementia differ from case to case, but in order to be clinically diagnosed as dementia, symptoms must include significant impairment in at least two of these core brain functions:
- Memory. Sufferers often struggle with short-term memory loss, and as the disorder progresses, memory loss becomes more severe. Dementia patients very often forget where they put things.
- Language. Sufferers often have trouble communicating because they struggle to find the right words to express themselves. Communication problems also become more severe as the disorder progresses.
- Attention. Sufferers may have trouble concentrating or maintaining focused attention on a task or a subject. They may have trouble planning or organizing their thoughts.
- Reasoning. Sufferers are often unable to complete complex tasks or solve problems, and they may become confused or disoriented.
- Visual perception. Sufferers have trouble processing visual or spatial information, and they may become disoriented easily. This disorientation can lead to getting lost or not understanding where they are.
Dementia also often causes changes in behavior, including:
- Depression or anxiety
- Hallucinations, delusions or paranoia
- Frustration or extreme agitation
- Inappropriate or irrational behavior
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