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Devastation of Dementia

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The Devastation of Dementia: Pathophysiology and Case Study


Relatively little is known about dementia, a disease which affects over 35 million people worldwide (Norton, et al., 2012). Early signs and symptoms may be confused with the “normal” aging process. Those with the disease often try to cover up their mental decline in the early stages, making early diagnosis even more difficult. Educating the medical community and the general population about the signs, symptoms and causes of dementia is an important step in seeking out a cure for this fatal disease. Dementia is a general term for a syndrome that is progressive in nature and is marked by deterioration in cognitive function that is greater than what would normally be expected. There are many types of dementia, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s Disease accounts for over 60% of the cases of dementia. Vascular Dementia is the second most common form. Others include Lewy Body Dementia, Parkinsonian Dementia, and Frontotemporal Dementia. There is no cure for any type of dementia, although there are treatments that help lessen the symptoms. Dementia is a progressive disorder and always results in death, either from complications such as falls" or pneumonia or the dementia itself. The number of people with dementia worldwide is expected to reach over 115 million by the year 2050. The current cost of treating dementia is over 1.5 times that of all cancers combined (Hurd, 2013), yet it receives significantly less dollars for research.

Pathophysiology Some types of dementia are diagnosed more readily than others. Alzheimer’s Disease typically has a slow onset and the early signs often go unnoticed. Typically, the progression of dementia is separated into 3 stages: mild dementia, moderate dementia, and severe or late stage dementia (Carter, Caine,...

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