The information on this page comes from the Dementia Society of America.

Dementia is an umbrella term, similar to "cancer". Cancer has many different forms such as ovarian, prostate, breast, melanoma, testicular, etc. Dementia is similar in that there are many different forms of dementia.

In addition, Dementias are considered severe forms of cognitive impairment that affect at least two functions of the brain. Examples include: memory, decision making, behaviors, muscle motor skills, etc. Memory loss alone does not mean Dementia.

A broad factual definition of Dementia from the U.S. Government:

"Dementia is not a specific disease. It is a descriptive term for a collection of symptoms that can be caused by a number of disorders that affect the brain. People with dementia have significantly impaired intellectual functioning that interferes with normal activities and relationships.

They also lose their ability to solve problems and maintain emotional control, and they may experience personality changes and behavioral problems, such as agitation, delusions, and hallucinations. While memory loss is a common symptom of dementia, memory loss by itself does not mean that a person has dementia. Doctors diagnose dementia only if two or more brain functions - such as memory and language skills -- are significantly impaired without loss of consciousness. 

Some of the diseases that can cause symptoms of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.  Doctors have identified other conditions that can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms including reactions to medications, metabolic problems and endocrine abnormalities, nutritional deficiencies, infections, poisoning, brain tumors, anoxia or hypoxia (conditions in which the brain’s oxygen supply is either reduced or cut off entirely), and heart and lung problems.

Although it is common in very elderly individuals, dementia is not a normal part of the aging process"*

*Sources- 2015, United States National Institutes of Health: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Additional Sources- Read updated information from NIH, click here. Mayo Clinic has a nice brief definition, click here.  National Institute on Aging maintains an excellent site, click here.

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