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'Dementia' is a term used medically to describe a syndrome (set of symptoms) that is caused by many different diseases. These include Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. An analogy is the term 'cancer', which is used to describe any malignant tumor but is not itself a specific disease…
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In the case of dementia, the effects have been widely noted and accepted (although the quantity of descriptors may vary from one authority to another): often cited are such symptoms as memory loss, particularly in short-term loadings, confusion, and disorientation in time and place, and personality alterations. Unfortunately, such effects may result from a variety of causes, some of which are treatable and others that are not. Depression is a good example of the former; Alzheimer's of the latter.
The prevalence of dementia we see currently is merely the tip of the iceberg at that. There are now some 32 million individuals in this country age 65 and older. That figure is expected to grow to 39 million in less than 20 years. Though there are now an estimated 5 million victims of dementia, the number may increase to more than 17 million in the same time period. . If true, within 20 years, over 40 percent of the elderly will suffer some form of dementia compared to less than 15 percent at the present time. These are staggering figures, and they are only estimates because no statistics are kept by any agency of the exact number of persons diagnosed by physicians as suffering from dementia. In fact, doctors resist any imposition of record keeping that would lead to actual numbers and realistic data.Recent analyses of people with dementia have suggested that a loss of self or a process of "unbecoming" are ascribed to this illness by many clinicians. ...
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