Dementia is classified as a clinical syndrome rather than a disease, it is a general term for progressive decline in mental ability that affect memory, thinking, behaviour and emotions. Although it mainly affects the elderly, it can also affect individuals under the age of 65 known as young onset dementia. Patients affected may not be able care for themselves and will need help as it interferes with their daily life. There is currently no cure for dementia, however, early diagnosis of the disease is essential to prevent it from deteriorating.
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There are many causes of dementia with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common, other common forms of dementia include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and fronto-temporal dementia.

Common Dementia Symptoms may include:
  • Problems remembering things or events that happened recently
  • Disturbance of language function (receptive and/or expressive) such as difficulty in finding words to express his/herself in a conversation
  • Difficulty in performing activities of daily living
  • Failure to identify or recognise familiar people or objects
  • Personality and mood changes
Dementia places heavy burdens on the patient, their families and care-givers, and also places stress on health and social systems as the patients usually requires long-term care. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that by 2050, almost 2 billion people will be over the age of sixty and the world Alzheimer report 2015 predicted that about 131.5 million people will suffer from dementia.

Dementia infographics
Source: Alzheimer's Disease International

Dementia affects almost 50 million people in the world in 2017 and will almost double every 20 years. It is predicted that a new case of dementia will occur every 3 seconds. Greater awareness and understanding of Dementia is important because it is common to interpret it as "senility" which reflects the formerly widespread but a misconception that serious decline in mental ability is part and parcel of ageing.