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Is Dementia a Normal Part of Aging?

Updated: Jan 29, 2019

It can be very challenging to identify if you or your loved one has the beginning stages of dementia, since every individual is different. However, it is important to contact your physician to ensure they are aware of the changes that are occurring.


Typically, the first signs of dementia are rather subtle and these signs can vary greatly from individual to individual. Dementia affects people from all social, economic, and ethnic groups in all parts of the world and has the ability to impact not only the individual, but also their circle of family and friends.

· 37 million worldwide

· 747 000 in Canada

· 181 000 in Ontario


Things to Note:

· Dementia is NOT a disease, but rather a general term that refers to a group of symptoms that accompany a disease or illness.

· Physical changes within the brain of an individual with dementia will cause a serious loss of cognitive ability, beyond that of normal aging.

· A person whose brain has been affected by dementia will often show signs of inhibition with their day-to-day activities, their relationships and their work.


Reversible or Irreversible?

Reversible

*Dementia symptoms may be caused by:

· Thyroid or heart disease

· Depression

· Alcohol abuse

· Drug interaction

· Malnutrition

· Delirium

*If the underlying condition causing the symptoms of dementia is treated, the individual’s cognitive abilities can return to what they were prior to the symptoms.

Irreversible

· The most common form of irreversible dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Other forms or irreversible dementia include vascular dementia, Lewy body of dementia and frontotemporal dementia.

· Currently there is no cure for irreversible dementia, and the symptoms will continue to worsen with time.


Warning Signs of Dementia

· Decline in memory

· Difficulty performing day-to-day tasks

· Problems with language

· Confusion and disorientation of time and place

· Poor or decreased judgment

· Problems with abstract thinking

· Misplacing things

· Changes in mood and behaviour

· Changes in personality

· Loss of initiative


Early Diagnosis

*Getting an early diagnosis for symptoms of dementia often helps with:

· Understanding the source of the dementia symptoms

· Accessing certain medications, treatments and supports

· Being prepared and having time to plan for the future


For more information follow this link.

https://alzheimer.ca/en/Home/About-dementia/What-is-dementia/Normal-aging-vs-dementia

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