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More Details on Dementia

Statistics

The U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment estimates that as many as 6.8 million people in the United States have dementia, and at least 1.8 million of those are severely affected. Studies in some communities have found that almost half of all people who are 85 years of age and older have some form of dementia. Although it is common in very elderly individuals, it is not a normal part of the aging process. Many people live into their 90s and even 100s without any symptoms of dementia.
 

What Conditions Are Not Dementia?

Conditions that are not considered dementia include:
 
  • Age-related cognitive decline
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Depression
  • Delirium.
     
Age-Related Cognitive Decline
As people age, they usually experience slower information processing and mild memory impairment. In addition, their brains frequently decrease in volume and some nerve cells, or neurons, are lost. These changes, called age-related cognitive decline, are normal and are not considered to be signs of dementia.
 
Mild Cognitive Impairment
Some people develop cognitive and memory problems that are not severe enough to be diagnosed as dementia but are more pronounced than the cognitive changes associated with normal aging. This condition is called mild cognitive impairment. Although many patients with this condition later develop dementia, some do not. Many researchers are studying mild cognitive impairment to find ways to treat it or prevent it from progressing.
 
Depression
People with depression are frequently passive or unresponsive, and they may appear slow, confused, or forgetful. Other emotional problems can also cause symptoms that may mimic dementia.
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Information on Dementia

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