Dementia is a word used to describe a group of symptoms that occur when brain cells stop working properly.
We are listing out important information everyone, including YOU should know about dementia
1. Dementia itself is not a disease – it’s actually caused by lots of different diseases. The word ‘dementia’ is just an umbrella term for the symptoms caused by these diseases such as memory loss, confusion and personality change. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause but other dementias include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia.
2. Dementia is not an inevitable part of getting older – while it’s true that the majority of people with dementia are over 65, the condition is not a normal part of getting older. The likelihood of developing dementia rises with age, but it’s not a given fact that an older person will develop it.
3. Dementia is more than just memory loss – most people associate dementia with memory loss, but the condition affects people in a wide variety of ways. That might include changes in behaviour, confusion and disorientation, delusions and hallucinations, difficulty communicating, problems judging speeds and distances and even cravings for particular foods. Everyone’s experience of dementia is different.
4. It’s possible to live an independent and active life with dementia – there are many people who are facing dementia, and they are developing support mechanisms and strategies to live well with the condition. That includes anything from taking up new hobbies to making new friends or taking part in research.
5. Dementia has a bigger impact on women – with more and more women living well into their 80s, and acting as unpaid or paid caregivers for loved ones or professionally, they are more likely to have dementia, compared to their male counterpart.
6. Dementia is a global issue – it’s a common myth that dementia is only an issue in the western world. So not true, dementia is very common here in Nigeria, but we are not well aware of it, so we neglect the symptoms and tag people with dementia as witches and wizards.
7. Dementia doesn’t discriminate – dementia is a condition that can affect anyone regardless of background, education, lifestyle or status. Dementia also doesn’t know race or religion.
8. There are no treatments to stop the diseases that cause dementia – there are no treatments that slow or stop diseases like Alzheimer’s. This means that the diseases will continue to get worse over time unless new treatments can be found quickly.
We can help people with dementia, by spreading awareness about what dementia is all about, the causes, symptoms etc. In our next topic, we will discus types and symptoms of dementia.