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Common Facts and Fictions About Dementia

Approximately 47 million people worldwide suffer from some type of Dementia today, and every three seconds a new case is diagnosed. Approximately five percent of all people aged 65 to 74 suffer from dementia, and that percentage rises to 40% for those over 85. Experts estimate that by 2030, at least 75 million people in the world will have some kind of dementia. Despite its prevalence, there remain many misconceptions about this devastating disease. Here are the some of the most important facts and fictions to help you better understand this condition.

  1. Dementia can?t be cured.
    Unfortunately, for true dementias, this is true. There are, however, a few conditions that can cause dementia symptoms, such as high fevers, drug and alcohol abuse, and some medications. In these instances, eliminating the cause will usually end the symptoms.
  2. Dementia is a normal part of aging.
    This is not true. While dementia mainly affects older individuals, it is a syndrome caused by a variety of brain illnesses, rather than by the aging process itself.
  3. The symptoms of dementia are always the same.
    Again, this is not true. The specific symptoms of dementia can vary greatly based on the cause and the particular case.
  4. Dementia always gets worse.
    This is not necessarily true. Depending on the cause of the dementia and how early it is diagnosed, there are some therapies that can help to slow or stop the progression of the dementia.
  5. Exercise can help prevent dementia.
    This is thought to be true. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the likelihood of developing heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes ? all of which are associated with an increased risk of developing dementia.
  6. Dementia is a type of mental illness.
    This one is not true. There are some important differences between dementia and mental illnesses that may cause similar behaviors, such as schizophrenia. While dementia generally does affect a person?s mental health, it is not a mental illness itself, but rather a brain disorder.
  7. A diagnosis of dementia is simple.
    This is not true. Not only is there no one test to diagnose dementia, but there are a variety of different types of dementia, all of which are difficult to properly diagnose. A true diagnosis generally requires a variety of tests and keeping track of an individual?s behavioral changes over time.
  8. Dementia only affects memory.
    This is also not true. Dementia affects different people differently, and various types of dementia have their own hallmark symptoms. Changes in behavior, confusion, disorientation, delusions, hallucinations, difficulty communicating, problems with judgement, and many other symptoms may be caused by dementia.
  9. Dementia is more common in women.
    This happens to be true, particularly because more women live longer than men do, which increases their risk for developing some type of dementia before they die.
  10. Only old people are at risk for developing dementia.
    This one is not true. While dementia is more common in older individuals, cases can occur in those as young as 30, and dementia can also be caused by brain damage from a head injury, brain infection, or alcohol abuse at any age.

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be overwhelming. Emotional, financial, and physical stress can all come from this difficult burden. Luckily, help is available. Specialty Care Services offers a variety of in-home care services. It?s important for you to reach out for the help you need!

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