Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases. Vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke, is the second most common dementia type. But there are many other conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia, including some that are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.
Dementia is often incorrectly referred to as “senility” or “senile dementia,” which reflects the formerly widespread but incorrect belief that serious mental decline is a normal part of aging.
- Problems thinking clearly, making decisions, or paying attention
- Memory trouble
- Seeing things that aren’t there, known as visual hallucinations
- Unusual sleepiness during the day
- Periods of “blanking out” or staring
- Problems with movement, including trembling, slowness, and trouble walking
- Dreams where you act out physically, including talking, walking and kicking
More than 5 million Americans are living with the Alzheimer’s disease. Every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.