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Dementia cases 'set to treble worldwide' by 2050

Author: David Mullane
Published: Dec 16 2013

A global report has suggested that Dementia cases are set to treble. Alzheimer’s Disease International says 44 million people live with the disease, but that figure will increase to 135 million by 2050.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term describing a serious deterioration in mental functions, such as memory, language, orientation and judgement There are many types, but Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for two-thirds of cases, is the most well-known.

There is no cure for any type of dementia – drugs can ease some of the symptoms, but do not tackle the underlying diseases. Patients may have had a decade of brain cells being destroyed before any symptoms appear.

The worldwide cost of dementia in 2010 was $604 billion with about 70% of the costs occurring in Western Europe and North America.

The symptoms of dementia come in three stages:

Early Stage: symptoms include forgetfulness, losing track of time or getting lost in familiar places;

Middle Stage: as dementia progresses the symptoms become more noticeable and include forgetfulness of recent events, forgetting people’s names, getting lost at home, difficulty communicating and behavioural changes.

Late Stage: the late stage of dementia is one of near inactivity and total dependence. Memory disturbances are serious and the physical signs and symptoms become more obvious. Symptoms include being unaware of a sense of time or place, difficulty recognising family or friends, a need for assisted self-care and difficulty walking.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. It is thought to cause over half of all cases. It is recognised by the build up of protein on the brain, which forms plaques and tangles, which stops the brain functioning properly.

Vascular dementia is the second most common type and it occurs when the blood supply to the brain is damaged.

Lewy Bodies is a type of dementia that shares characteristics with both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Fronto Temporal is a rare type of dementia, which affects the personality, behaviour and language skills in the early stages. This form of dementia often causes a loss of insight and so the person may do and say things at the wrong time and in the wrong place.

Korsakoff Syndrome is a chronic memory disorder caused by severe deficiencies of thiamine (Vitamin B1). Korsakoff Syndrome is most commonly caused by alcohol misuse, but certain other conditions can also cause the syndrome.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) is the common form of a group of rare, fatal brain disorders known as prion diseases. This disease triggers prion protein in the brain to fold into a three-dimensional abnormal shape.

The infographic (below) has been provided by Bluebird Care to highlight some of the key facts around this subject.

Feng Shui infographic

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