What is Dementia?
Dementia is an umbrella term for a group of brain-degenerative disorders that are characterized by rapidly failing mental abilities due to brain cell damage. Symptoms include but are not limited to memory loss, cognitive dysfunction, loss of learned motor and sensory skills, logical impairment and many others that together can make your day-to-day life extremely difficult to navigate.
The condition is most extent in the older population and usually coincides with aging, but Early-Onset Dementia can occur in young and middle-aged population as well. This is why Dementia is often under-reported, as patients are mistaken as simply growing "senile" with age. However, in a Dementia sufferer, the brain degenerates far more rapidly and in much more serious ways than normal old age problems. More awareness and and proactive handling is needed when it comes to diagnosis and treatment planning.
Some types of Dementia are reversible, like Thyroid and vitamin deficiency-induced disorders. But for most types, the cell damage process, once, begun, is largely irreversible. Treatments and therapy can, however, help patients cope with their day-to-day activities and lead their lives in relative stability and comfort.
Dementia versus Alzheimer's Disease
Dementia is often conflated with Alzheimer's Disease, but the two terms are not the same. Dementia is the name for a whole group of disorders, and Alzheimer's Disease is just one of them. The reason of this conflation is that the vast majority of Dementia patients throughout the world suffer from the specific type of disorder that is identified as Alzheimer's Disease.
Alzheimer's Disease is the most common form of Dementia, with about 80% of the world's Dementia patient's suffering from it. The most common symptoms include short-term memory loss, difficulty in focus, and confusion. In an advanced form, Alzheimer's patients may fail to recognize family members, forget paths and routes even inside their own home, and 'forget' how to perform everyday actions like swallowing, walking, and regulate bodily waste.