Affecting 47 million people worldwide, dementia impacts every aspect of a person’s life and varies by individual, changing as one progresses through different stages of the underlying disease. Dementia is an umbrella term for symptoms like impaired judgment and memory loss that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. Over time, the affected person can experience personality and behavioral changes, as well as physical decline. Two of the most common causes of dementia are Alzheimer’s and Lewy body disease (or Lewy body dementia). Other causes of dementia include Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, affecting more than five million Americans. Typically, memory and judgement gradually decline over time due to degenerating and dying brain cells. Unless the individual has other diseases or illnesses, physical deterioration does not usually occur until the disease has significantly progressed and caused impairment in basic function and motor skills necessary to physical health.
Lewy body disease is another common cause of progressive dementia. Initially, individuals may experience symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, while others may have vivid visual hallucinations. Lewy body dementia may also cause aggressive behavior or depression, tremors, and an increased risk of falling.
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