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Dementia-: Symptoms and causes

With the improvement of life expectancy, the number of Indians living with dementia is rising rapidly. As there is still lack of awareness about this condition there is a delay in diagnoses and lack of trained healthcare works.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that about 55 million people worldwide are living with dementia. According to the report presented by Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI) it is estimated that 5.3 million people in India have Dementia, this figure could be more as the condition are under reported.

Dementia is a term used to describe a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with your daily life. Dementia can result from a variety of illnesses and injuries that affect the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease or stroke.

It is the seventh leading cause of death among all diseases and one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide. Dementia has physical, psychological, social and economic impacts, not only for people living with dementia, but also for their careers, families and society at large. There is often a lack of awareness and understanding of dementia, resulting in stigmatization and barriers to diagnosis and care.

Dementia affects each person in a different way, depending upon the underlying causes, other health conditions and the person’s cognitive functioning before becoming ill. The signs and symptoms linked to dementia can be understood in three stages.

  1. Early Stages
  • Forgetfulness
  • Losing track of time
  • Becoming lost in familiar places
  1. Middle Stages
  • Becoming forgetful of recent events and people’s names
  • Becoming confused while at home
  • Having increasing difficulty with communication
  • Needing help with personal care
  • Experiencing behaviour changes, including wandering and repeated questioning
  1. Late Stages
  • Becoming unaware of time and place
  • Difficulty in recognizing their family members
  • Extremely dependent on others for self-care
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Mood swings

According to the study conducted by the Journal of Global Health Reports in 2019 only 1 out of 10 Dementia Patients receive diagnoses, treatment or care. Therefore it is extremely important for the government to take necessary measures to reduce the economic and social burden and help the patients live a dignified life.

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