What is Dementia

In 2010, there were an estimated 35.6 million people with dementia worldwide and 3.7 million in India alone.There are 7.7 million new cases of dementia each year, implying that there is a new case of dementia somewhere in the world every four seconds.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is the word that doctors use when someone has the number of problems with thinking and remembering. Dementia describes a group of symptoms associated with long-term decline of mental ability. Dementia affects a person’s ability to remember, understand, communicate and reason. These problems interfere with the person’s ability to do things that they used to be able manages, such as looking after themselves.

One in 14 people over 65 years of age and one in six people over 80 years of age has a form of dementia .The overall  prevalence for males and females  doubles for every five year increase in age after the age of 65.

There are many causes of dementia that affect the brain in different ways and determine the symptoms that a person experiences. For example, memory loss and impairment in Alzheimer’s disease is associated with damage to the hippocampus and the temporal and parietal lobes.

Neuron death is the main cause of dementia and is often related to malfunctions in the commun


In dementia brain shrinks as neurons die.

ication system that a neuron needs to survive. However, if the immune system of the brain is too active and causes inflammation, this can also damage cells. Unlike most cells, when neurons die, other cells do not divide and replace them. Therefore most dementias are progressive and cannot be reversed.


Usually dementia gets progressively worse over time. If the person improves and gets better, then what they had was not dementia. It was more likely to be depression or an infection, or the result of being stressed and tired .People with dementia can be depressed or ill like anyone else, so they might have chance of being a bit better if the infection or depression is sorted out. But underlying problems still continue.

Symptoms :

Very few people with dementia have or will have all of the problems listed below.This is simply guide a to kinds of problem that people with dementia,their familes, carers and friends may come across.

A person with dementia may seem:

  • Apathetic
  • Less interested in hobbies or activities
  • Unwilling to try new things
  • Unable to adapt to change
  • Less able to make decisions or plans
  • Slower to grasp complex ideas
  • Ready to blame others for ‘stealing’ mislaid terms
  • Become forgetful of recent events
  • Be repetitive in speech or actions
  • Be confused regarding time and place
  • Be neglectful of hygiene or eating
  • Become angry or distressed very rapidly
  • See or hear things that are not there

Most common types of dementia are-:dementia-umbrella-term

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Vascular disease
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Fronto-temporal dementia
  • Korsakoff’s syndrome

Some other types of dementia are-:

  • Progressive supranuclear palsy
  • Korsakoff’s syndrome
  • Binswanger’s disease
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Motor neurone disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease




References :

  • The dementia care workbook 
  • Best practices in dementia care, DSDC
  • Alzheimer’s Society
  • Google images