Types of Dementia
Dementia is the umbrella term for a number of neurological conditions, of which the major symptom includes a global decline in brain function. It is a condition that has been noted in people for hundreds of years.
Dementia includes decline in memory, and at least one of the following cognitive inabilities:
- Ability to generate coherent speech and understand spoken or written language;
- Ability to recognize or identify objects, assuming intact sensory function;
- Ability to execute motor activities, assuming intact motor abilities, sensory function and comprehension of the required task;
- Ability to think abstractly, make sound judgments and plan and carry out complex tasks.
The decline in cognitive abilities must be severe enough to interfere with daily life.
Dementia was seen as normal part of aging during the Roman Empire, and was included with conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and even syphilis induced brain-damage up until the 20th century.
Senile dementia (dementia affecting people older than 65) was a relatively rare occurrence before the 20th century as fewer people lived to old age in pre-industrial society. It was not until the mid 1970’s that dementia begun to be described as we know it today.
We now know dementia is a disease symptom, and not a normal part of aging.
Dementia can be caused by any of the following: AIDS, high fever, dehydration, hydrocephalus, systemic lupus erythematosus, Lyme disease, long-term drug or alcohol abuse, vitamin deficiencies, poor nutrition, hypothyroidism or hypercalcemia, multiple sclerosis, and brain tumour(s).
Dementia can also result from a head injury that causes hemorrhaging in the brain or a reaction to a medication.