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About Alzheimer's and Dementia

an elder woman

Dementia is the name used for a condition or illness in which a person has difficulty with memory, finding words, solving problems, and other thinking abilities, and these difficulties get in the way of daily life.

There are a number of different types of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common kind of dementia. Other types of dementia include frontotemporal dementia (FTD), Lewy body dementia, and vascular dementia (dementia related to heart disease).

While it can be useful to identify the type of dementia that a person has, treatment approaches used are often similar for different types. People may also have more than one type of dementia at the same time.

A person living with dementia will find that their thinking and memory get progressively worse over time. How quickly or slowly it develops depends on many factors. Dementia increases with age, especially in the oldest of the elderly, but it can also begin at earlier ages. Dementia that develops before the age of 65 is more common in people who have other risk factors such as Down's syndrome (Trisomy 21), a history of head injury, or heavy alcohol use.

So far, there is no known treatment to stop or reverse the changes of dementia. But there is a lot of ongoing research into treatment that may one day stop changes and improve memory and thinking in those with dementia.

There are treatments that improve the lives of people living with dementia and make it easier for family and caregivers to provide care. For this reason, when someone is having trouble with memory and thinking, it is important to help them see their doctor to for testing that will tell them whether they have dementia – or perhaps some other problem that needs to be treated.