1.) Dementia is not a specific disease, it is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. There is a decline mentally and other thinking skills that can become severe enough to alter someones day-to-day activities. Some examples of symptoms are forgetting where they placed certain belongings, paying bills, planning and preparing meals, and remembering appointments.
Dementia is very common since there are so many different types of dementia that a person can be diagnosed with. There will be 225,000 people who will develop dementia this year, that’s one every three minutes. With any type of dementia, they start showing the symptoms then eventually over time they will start to become worse.
While symptoms of dementia can vary greatly, at least two of the following core mental functions must be significantly impaired to be considered dementia:
– Communication and Language
– Visual Perception
– Reasoning and Judgement
– Ability to Focus and Pay Attention
2.) Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia where 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. There are different stages that people experience when they have Alzheimer’s disease. The rate of progression with Alzheimer’s may vary with each individual case. Some can progress very fast and others can progress very slow.
The first problem that people with Alzheimer’s may notice is forgetfulness that can eventually start to affect their work, daily life or social life. They may also experience some confusion, expressing emotion or thoughts, and getting lost in familiar places. This happens due to the brain’s nerve cells being damaged. The more cells that get damaged, the worse the disease will become.
With the Alzheimer’s disease, it slowly progresses through three different main stages- mild (early), moderate (middle) and severe (late). The first stage In the beginning stage of Alzheimer’s where the person can still have a regular life and function independently. A person will still attend work, social gatherings, family dinners and still able to drive. Friends and family will begin to notice their loved ones forgetting familiar words or location of everyday objects around the house.
The middle stage (Moderate) usually lasts the longest for the patient and may last for many years. A person within this stage will start confusing words, acting in unexpected ways, or becoming frustrated and angry toward themselves or others. They will also need help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing and grooming.
In the final stage, Within this stage, they lose the ability to carry a conversation, respond to their environment properly, and control movement. They will require around-the-clock help with personal care. They will also lose awareness of surroundings and experiences, become more vulnerable to infections and require high level of help with activities. Their physical ability will also decline, they will have trouble walking, sitting and eventually swallowing. A person may become unable to walk without assistance, then unable to sit or hold up his or her head without support. Muscles may become rigid and reflexes abnormal. Eventually, a person loses the ability to swallow and to control bladder and bowel functions.
3.) Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a term that can be defined as a subtle but measurable memory disorder. If a person seems to have the symptoms associated with MCI, then they have memory problems that are greater than expected with age but do not show other signs of dementia. Those with MCI have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia but some people also can remain stable or eventually get better.
MCI is relatively new, but the research to help identify the exact definition of MCI is growing. Those that reported a change in their memory since their last annual visit were almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with MCI or dementia. Also, having a family history of dementia increased a persons risk of MCI. More research will be done to examine the biological changes associated with normal aging and those aging with different types of dementia. Below is some listed criteria for MCI.
Criteria for MCI Diagnosis:
– Measurable, greater than normal memory impairment detected with standard memory assessment tests.
– Normal general thinking and reasoning skills.
– Ability to perform normal daily activities.
– An individual’s report of his or her own memory problems, preferably confirmed by another person.
For more information about other different types of Dementia, please click here.