Dementia is a general loss of mental abilities. It can include a loss of ability to think, reason, learn, and understand. To be considered dementia, these mental losses must be severe enough to interfere with day-to-day activities. Dementia must also have:
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Causes of dementia include:
Increasing age is the most common factor that increases your chance of developing dementia. Other factors include:
Symptoms often begin mildly and get more severe over time. Symptoms vary according to the cause of the dementia, but often include:
Your doctor may diagnose dementia through:
Imaging tests take pictures of internal body structures. These may include:
Cerebrospinal fluid that protects the brain and spinal cord can be analyzed with a lumbar puncture.
Currently, there are no treatments to cure many types of dementia. Some medication may help to decrease the symptoms of dementia or slow its course.
Two types of medications that may be used to reduce the symptoms of dementia include:
Treatments that are being studied include:
This type of support is critical for people with dementia. Behavioral and environmental support includes:
People with dementia often develop psychiatric symptoms. You may need appropriate treatment, such as:
Caring for a person with dementia is difficult. Those providing care will need support. The Alzheimer’s Association is an excellent resource for families and caregivers.
While the exact cause of dementia is not known, these steps may help to reduce your risk:
Alzheimer Society Canada
Toronto Dementia Network
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Last reviewed September 2016 by Rimas Lukas, MD Last Updated: 8/28/2015