Dementia is a progressive or continuing decrease in a person’s ability to think or process information beyond what might be expected as a result of normal aging. It is due to damage in brain function. Although dementia usually occurs in aging persons, it can occur ay any adult age. Individuals with dementia often have difficulty with such things as memory, maintaining attention, language (speaking or understanding speech, and problem solving. During dementia, these higher mental functions are affected first. However, in the later stages, affected persons may become disoriented as to time (day, day of the week, month, etc.), knowing where they are, and knowing who they are, or who others around them are.
People with dementia may not be able to think well enough to do normal activities, such as eating or dressing. They may lose their ability to solve problems or control their emotions. Their personalities may change, and they may become agitated or see things that are not there. Many different diseases can be associated with dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease (Alzheimer’s) and stroke being among the most common causes. Memory loss alone does not mean having dementia because people with dementia have serious problems with at least two brain functions, which are often memory and language.
While most cases of dementia cannot be cured or reversed, drug treatment for some diseases with dementia can improve or slow down symptoms.