- Dementia is a syndrome caused by damage to the brain that can lead to memory loss and a decline in thinking skills.
- Eventually, dementia can result in a mental decline that’s extreme enough to make living independently unfeasible.
- There are three stages of dementia, and each has its own symptoms. Knowing the signs to look for is key to early detection.
- Most forms of dementia are incurable, but there are treatments and lifestyle changes that can help manage the symptoms.
Dementia can be debilitating, making everyday life a challenge. People with dementia can struggle with memory, communication, and even things like walking and personal care. Unfortunately, dementia is an increasingly common syndrome. More than 55 million people live with dementia worldwide, and researchers say that number could triple by 2050.
Given this prediction, recognizing dementia’s symptoms as well as understanding its risk factors is important. Let’s take a closer look at dementia, so you’re aware of the signs, treatments, and lifestyle choices that can help reduce the risk of dementia.
What Is Dementia?
Dementia is an umbrella term that refers to a loss of mental abilities and behavioral changes caused by various diseases and injuries. So, dementia itself isn’t a disease. Rather, “it’s a group of symptoms caused by other conditions,” as WebMD puts it.
There are two distinct categories of dementia: cortical dementia and subcortical dementia. According to WebMD, cortical dementia affects the brain’s outer layer, called the cortex, while subcortical dementia affects parts of the brain underneath the cortex. Cortical dementia often causes memory loss and issues with language. Subcortical dementia, on the other hand, commonly leads to slower thinking abilities and difficulty starting activities.