Dementia is a descriptive term for a collection of symptoms affecting the brain. As many as 6.8 million people in the United States are estimated to have the condition, with at least 1.8 million of them being severely affected. Cognitive difficulties, personality changes, and behavioral problems are some of the most common symptoms of dementia.
In most cases, there is no way to reverse or stop this illness, although drugs are available to improve symptoms and slow down the progression of dementia. People with moderate or advanced forms typically need around-the-clock care and supervision to prevent them from harming themselves or others. Assistance may also be required with eating, bathing, and other daily activities.
(For more information, including how a diagnosis is made and a list of conditions with similar symptoms, click Dementia.)