Understanding Dementia and Dispelling the Confusion

Dementia is a word that has crept into our everyday vocabulary, but oftentimes it is misused. For instance, we may find ourselves in the middle of a conversation, and suddenly lose our train of thought, or be unable to remember a person’s name. We immediately jump to the conclusion that we are starting to suffer from dementia. However, with all the stress in today’s world, these events could merely be the result of information overload or too much stimulation. Therefore, it is important to understand what dementia is so that the appropriate steps can be taken to address it.

What is dementia?


Dementia, in and of itself, is not a disease. It is a term loosely used to refer to a decline in cognitive functioning—memory, critical thinking, or problem-solving. If the impairment is significant enough to limit your ability to function day to day, then you may be experiencing signs of dementia.
Dementia is not a necessary outgrowth of aging, as is often thought. Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia and approximately 60-80 percent of patients with dementia are suffering from Alzheimer’s. Another category of dementia occurs after a stroke, known as Vascular Dementia.

What are the symptoms of dementia?

Dementia symptoms vary from person to person, but to be considered truly dementia, and not some other cognitive interference, at least two of the following outcomes must be present in a significant and constant way:
• Impaired visual perception
• Loss of memory
• Inability to judge and analyze situations
• Problem with communicating and using language
• Unable to focus and give attention to what is before you

Dementia progresses. Usually it begins with small memory losses, such as where you left your keys, or what you were thinking of preparing for dinner. It could be more serious, such as forgetting appointments, paying your bills or the directions to a frequent location. At this stage, an early diagnosis could prevent further deterioration, as well as discover a treatable disease that might be causing the dementia symptoms.

What causes dementia?

Dementia results when there is damage to the brain cells resulting in their inability to communicate. The brain is separated into regions, each one controlling certain physical and cognitive functions. Cells are constantly sending signals to each other, resulting in smooth functioning of the brain and body. When there is an impairment to the cells’ ability to transmit signals, thinking, memory, bodily functions or emotions can be impacted. Alzheimer’s disease, for example, causes an overproduction of certain proteins, which damage the cells’ ability to communicate, thus resulting in the dementia.

How is dementia diagnosed?

Unfortunately, there is not a single test that can be administered to diagnose the presence of dementia. A qualified physician will assess your family medical history, order laboratory tests, conduct a thorough physical exam and analyze your symptoms to arrive at a diagnosis of the type and severity of the dementia.

What can you do if you have been diagnosed with dementia?
Some dementia is treatable and even reversible, depending upon its cause. This is why early diagnosis is so important. Alzheimer’s dementia, however, is not reversible and to date, there are no medicines or treatments that can slow its progression. Significant medical research is ongoing to discover new therapies for Alzheimer’s and other serious dementias.

Can you lower your risk of developing dementia or prevent its onset?
There are some steps you can take to lower your risk of developing dementia, although nothing can completely negate particular risk factors that you may be carrying.
1. Exercise. Exercise causes increased blood flow to the brain which maintains brain cell health.
2. Cardiovascular health. Protect your cardiovascular system by not smoking, keeping your cholesterol level low and watching your weight.
3. Diet. Brain health is also impacted by what you eat. A diet low in fats and proteins, and high in fish, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and fruits, such as the Mediterranean diet, has proven to keep your brain and heart healthy.


32 responses to “Understanding Dementia and Dispelling the Confusion

  1. My grandmother had dementia from 1996-2001. It certainly was an experience and I was fortunate to be able to spend time with her even when she didn’t know who I was.

  2. A lot of people don’t understand dementia. My brother had Alzheimer’s which is a form of dementia. Sometimes he could remember me and sometimes he couldn’t. Alzheimer’s dementia is not reversible. It is reassuring now that some dementia is treatable and can be a help to people who has it. There is also some steps people can take to lower the risk like exercise, cardiovascular health, and diet.

  3. Very informative. I was confused about the difference between dementia and Alzheimer. This article cleared it up for me.

  4. I didn’t know dementia could possible be reversable great article found out a lot of interesting facts about dementia but I hope with the research they are doing for Alzheimer’s will be successful in reversing it

  5. The image really tells the story. The information provided gives a really detailed view and lets people have that much more knowledge about dementia.

  6. Fred Manfrinjinson

    My uncle has been diagnosed with dementia and this article was pretty helpful in understanding what’s going on with him. Thank you for posting and I, for one, after reading about diet recommendations and exercise will be sure to keep up my own regimens there.

  7. I never knew that problems with communicating, talking and using language was one of the symptoms. Also cool to learn that what you eat can help you with prevention of the condition.

  8. Hello, thanks for the article. I found it to be very useful and we’ll researched. I’m very glad to see someone dispelling the myth that dementia is inherently tied to a disease. Thanks again for the advice on how to prevent dementia. An overall win of an article. -would read again*bookmarked*

  9. used to emphasize the truth of a statement, especially when this is surprising or when it contrasts with a previous statement Some diets may be positively dangerous. The instructions were not just confusing, they were positively misleading. Tonight’s performance is positively the last time the band will appear together

  10. Charles Bonila

    This article is the perfect 101 introduction on how to spot and treat dementia so that one can properly take care of themselves and their families.

  11. Brooke Anderson

    I like the way this was layed out and how you illustrated your points. well done.

  12. Caroline Kaugher

    Another good article, interesting. I did not know that the cognitive decline following a stroke was also a form of dementia. Again, as always, thank you for the information!

  13. Vincent Agosta

    this article gives me good insights about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In my opinion Alzheimer’s is worse, but maybe there will be a cure for Alzheimer’s in the future.

  14. Thanks for this article. Right now, I’ve got to have more exercise, cardiovascular health, and diet as I am experiencing lots of memory loss at my 41 years of life. I’ve got to do these things before it’s too late for me.

  15. People often treat dementia just like they would treat a lot of other diseases: they do not actually understand it, but they think they have it.

  16. Eduardo Ramirez

    I have never heard dementia,but by reading this article made me realize how serious this can be. When I visit my father in law at the nursing home, sometimes he forget what date or where his at sometimes. We have to tell him a couple of times.

  17. I hope with the research they are doing for Alzheimer’s will be successful in reversing it. In my opinion Alzheimer’s is worse, but maybe there will be a cure for Alzheimer’s in the future.Also cool to learn that what you eat can help you with prevention of the condition….

  18. kevin peterson

    Nice and informative article about the disease. Thanks for the post.

  19. kevin peterson

    A informative post about this deadly disease and we should spread this pos tto all places .

  20. Great information here.This article is personal for me because my grandmother has Alzheimer’s.Thanks for sharing.

  21. So glad so much research is being done for this terrible disease. It is my true hope that one day it’ll be completely cured!

  22. Clearly you have done your research. Thank you for helping to inform others.

  23. A very well researched article. I shudder by the thought on how these dementia patients feel when they suddenly lose memory or cannot communicate properly. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Lately, I have been suffering from low memory perceptio. Thank you for sharing the tips to lower the risks of dementia. I make sure I will follow them everyday so that I get safe from it. Thanks again.

  25. It was a very great research and a helpful article. I was unknown to it till now. I guess I have met some people having dementia problems like loss memory, when they speak they have language problems, and also they cannot be focused on a particular thing. It was a great article and I got a chance to know about it. Thanks for sharing because now I am aware about it and also I can aware other people about it.

  26. George Simpson

    It is hard to even imagine the situation and the mental pressure that the patients suffering from dementia go through. To lose memory and focus suddenly is obviously a nightmare and to face this on almost a daily basis for most patients certainly is horrible experience for them.

  27. Dementia can be problematic for elderly people especially as they age. It is always good to understand about Dementia and the symptoms associated with it. This article is very informative and knowing it will teach some to prevent Dementia.

  28. Connie Mastroianni

    Dementia and Alzheimer’s are 2 different conditions. Alzheimer’s you get when you get older and your memory becomes clouded. Dementia is like a learning disability where things may not come to use as fast and be confusing.

  29. Anatha Omoikhudu

    This was an interesting Topic, about Dementia and Alzheimer. This is my first time ever hearing about it. I never knew you would experience loss of memory, not able to communicate, and not able to focus. Thanks, alot. I really learned something new today.

  30. Very informative and detailed article. It helps that the terms were broken down from the medical jargon so that every day folks like me can understand it.

  31. What an interesting article. This is not only good to know, but covered all of the needed areas

  32. I like to even see information about lowering the risk of it included as well!
    Well done article!

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