“Can I remember exactly when I ‘lost’ my husband? Was it the moment when I had to start tying his shoelaces for him? Or when we stopped being able to laugh with each other? Looking back, that turning point is impossible to pinpoint. But then, that’s the nature of dementia.” – Judy Parfitt, English Actress
Like most illnesses that severely affect cognitive functioning, dementia is a tragic, gut-wrenching condition. In this article, we’re going to discuss what dementia is (and is not), some warning signs of the condition, and methods of treatment.
What is dementia?
Per the Alzheimer’s Organization, dementia is “a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.” Loss of memory and Alzheimer’s – the most common form of dementia – are two examples. Dementia is, generally, a gradual decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills.
Dementia itself is not a specific disease. Rather, the term applies to a breadth of symptoms which may indicate the presence of a severe cognitive disorder. Due to the complex nature of the disorder, Dementia can only be diagnosed by a licensed medical doctor (usually a neurologist).
Types of Dementia
As mentioned, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all cases. Alzheimer’s is a fatal disorder that neutralizes brain cells and cognitive functionality. Sadly, individuals with Alzheimer’s disease often notice the changes in themselves; this makes it difficult to articulate what they’re experiencing to friends, family, and others.
The second-leading cause of dementia is called Vascular dementia – a form of dementia resulting from a stroke. The Mayo Clinic characterizes a stroke as follows:
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to your brain is interrupted or reduced. This deprives your brain of oxygen and nutrients, which can cause your brain cells to die. A stroke may be caused by a blocked artery (ischemic stroke) or the leaking or bursting of a blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke).