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An Overview Of Dementia Essay

3727 words - 15 pages

An Overview of Dementia: How It Has Touched My Life

Dementia is an illness that occurs when there is a loss of brain function as a result of the presence of certain diseases. Dementia affects a person’s memory, judgment, behavior, thinking, and language. Dementia includes Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and tends to increase the most from the age of 65. Various references and literature in reference to dementia indicate that the number of patients with dementia will increase significantly as society ages, especially within the next three decades. Dementia causes significant family issues and can become a financial burden on patients and their family members. These ...view middle of the document...

The strange behaviors and acts of the elderly have come to be known as dementia. It is known as a most feared and misunderstood conditions among the elderly and is often a condition that family members and loved ones never want to see happen to their elderly family member. The subject of this paper will discuss the definition of dementia, how dementia affects the brain and the body, the signs and symptoms of dementia, the diagnosis and treatments of dementia, the affects dementia has on family members and loved ones as well as the writer of this paper.
An Overview of Dementia: The Definition of Dementia
People over the age of 80 can retain normal brain function; however, various biological phenomena that involve different forms of progressive degeneration of mental functions may occur as early as age 65. Dementia is a general, umbrella term used to describe the progressive loss of cognitive and intellectual functions. Dementia is caused by a variety of disorders with Alzheimer’s being the main cause of the condition. Dementia within itself is not an illness or disease. From a medical point of view, dementia is a non-specific syndrome in which brain functions such as attention, memory, problem solving, and language are affected. Dementia may affect individuals of any age but is most common in older people. “The word dementia comes from the Latin de meaning “apart” and mens from the genitive mentis meaning “mind” (Nordqvist, 2004-2012, para. 1).
The term “dementia” was first used as early as the 18th century, when it described people who lacked intelligence and competence. These people could not manage their individual affairs or take care of themselves. It was during the mid-19th century, that “scientific research began to unravel the intricate relationships between brain structure, function and behavior. The concept of dementia began to reflect the idea that some mental deficits are different from the behavioral changes head injuries or infections may cause” (Shagam, 2009, p.155). The mental deficits and physical changes that take place within the body prove that dementia can take a toll on an individual and breaks down the functions of the brain and body.
This Is Dementia: How the Brain and Body Are Affected
Dementia is known to have many causes. Some dementias can exist on their own whereas others may be a result of another illness or disease. Regardless of the root of the causes of dementia, the way the brain and the body are affected depends on the part of the brain that has been affected by dementia. The extent of the progression of the dementia also determines how the brain and body is affected. Dementia affects the body mainly through progressive dementias and disorders linked to dementia.
Progressive Dementias
Progressive dementias are the types of dementias that eventually worsen over time. This group of dementias includes Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and...

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