Dementia is a blanket term used to describe a group of symptoms characterized by gradual deterioration of neurological functioning affecting all areas of life, to include cognition, judgment, language, memory, problem-solving, perception, and emotions. Over time, all activities of daily living are impaired, with death as the end result.
Dementia most frequently occurs in people who are more than 70 years of age, although it can appear at any age, depending upon causation. Although there are a variety of dementia classification systems, the most commonly cited relate to the following observed symptomatology:
There are a number of different types of dementia:
Most often, dementia has a gradual onset and has symptoms that differ among affected individuals. All affected individuals eventually are impaired in every area of cognition. Initially, dementia can appear as memory changes in which the person may be able to vividly remember events from the distant past while not able to remember recent events. Other symptoms of dementia are agnosia (an inability to recognize familiar objects), facial agnosia (the inability to recognize familiar faces), and visuiospatial impairment (the inability to locate familiar places).
See also Aging ; Alzheimer's disease ; Brain disorders ; Brain injuries .
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