Dementia isn't a specific disease. Instead, dementia describes a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning.
Dementia indicates problems with at least two brain functions, such as memory loss and impaired judgment or language, and the inability to perform some daily activities such as paying bills or becoming lost while driving.
Though memory loss generally occurs in dementia, memory loss alone doesn't mean you have dementia. There is a certain extent of memory loss that is a normal part of aging.
Many causes of dementia symptoms exist. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of a progressive dementia. Some causes of dementia may be reversible.
Nov. 22, 2014
- What is dementia? Alzheimer's Association. http://www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp. Accessed Aug. 28, 2014.
- Dementia: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/dementias/detail_dementia.htm?css. Accessed Aug. 28, 2014.
- Goldman L, et al. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 28, 2014.
- Halter JB, et al. Hazzard's Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=540. Accessed Aug. 28, 2014.
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 28, 2014.
- Shadlen MF, et al. Risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 29, 2014.
- Press D, et al. Treatment of dementia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 29, 2014.
- Caring for a person with Alzheimer's disease. National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/caring-person-alzheimers-disease/about-guide. Accessed Aug. 30, 2014.
- Alternative treatments. Alzheimer's Association. http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_alternative_treatments.asp. Accessed Aug. 30, 2014.
- Natural medicines in the clinical management of Alzheimer's disease. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Aug. 30, 2014.
- Preventing Alzheimer's disease: What do we know? National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/preventing-alzheimers-disease/introduction. Accessed Sept. 2, 2014.
- Lapid MI (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 12, 2014.