As we’ve mention in previous posts, dementia is a cluster of symptoms – not a cause. Some of the symptoms are behavioral changes (e.g. mood swings), confusion/frustration, memory loss or forgetfulness, and in some cases impaired judgment.
What causes dementia is any number of things. Some dementias are caused by taking the wrong drugs at the wrong time, hormone imbalance issues, injury, or various diseases – most commonly Alzheimer’s Disease.
While this may scare you, it’s important to remember that dementia IS NOT NATURAL. So it shouldn’t just happen on its own. It’s why it’s important to (overall) maintain a healthy diet (avoid processed foods) and exercise. After all, dementia is one of the main reasons family members end up moving their parents into senior housing facilities.
Is Dementia Curable?
One of the things doctors have stressed in the past – and it helps to reiterate here – is that there is a stark difference between curable, reversible, and treatable. It may seem obvious when they’re all lined up like that, but there’s nothing worse than finding a family that hears “treatable” and thinks “curable.”
Most forms of dementia have some form of medication for mood swings or memory loss – but that is a treatment and not a cure.
The kinds of dementia that are irreversible (to date) are:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Dementia brought on by AIDs
- Parkinson’s disease
- Vascular dementia
- Creutzfedlt-Jakob Disease (CJD)
Typically, any dementias that are caused by disease or injury are incurable. Some forms of dementia are reversible and others are treatable, but much of this depends on what kind of dementia a person has and where it’s located.
How Common is Dementia?
It’s hard to say with accuracy. We have surprisingly little information on Alzheimer’s disease and that’s the most common cause. As we’ve said, Alzheimer’s is a default diagnosis, which just goes to show how little information we have on it. It’s what you’re diagnosed with when it cannot possibly be anything else… that we know of.
In short, we don’t know how common it is because we’re still learning about it. It may have been common for centuries, but because we’re living longer, it’s becoming more prevalent. Maybe it’s been around for an even longer amount of time, but we’re only starting to recognize the symptoms.
There are even researchers that speculate as many as 50% of all seniors (over the age of 85) have some form of dementia. One thing is for certain however, the cases of Alzheimer’s and dementia have increased even over the last decade alone. As it is an unnatural occurrence, many are inclined to believe technology or our diets have something to do with it.
When Can You Find Out If You Have Dementia?
Dementia is the scientific word that has replaced the outdated term, “senile” or “senility.” While that may be a derogatory word, there’s some truth in its origins. In general, people do not develop dementia until they are a senior (so around age 65).