WHAT IS DEMENTIA?

Dementia is not a disease or disorder. It simply describes an array of symptoms. These symptoms relate to a general degradation of mental competency to the point where it affects daily life. The effects of deterioration can range from mild to severe to life threatening. It is important to understand that dementia is not a natural part of aging.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF DEMENTIA?

Dementia does not have a set group of symptoms. This is due to the great number of variation in types of dementia. To be diagnosed with dementia, at least two core mental processes must be severely affected.

MEMORY
COMMUNICATION AND LANGUAGE
ABILITY TO FOCUS
REASONING AND JUDGEMENT
VISUAL PERCEPTION

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  • Changes in memory, concentration and judgement
  • Trouble interpreting visual information
  • Muffled speech
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Delusions, especially paranoid ideas
  • Depression
  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances, including excessive daytime drowsiness and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep disorder

As with other types of dementia there is no single test, or any combination of tests, that conclusively determines that a person has Parkinson’s disease dementia.

Many experts now believe that Parkinson’s disease dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies are two different expressions of the same underlying problems with brain processing of the protein alpha-synuclein. But most experts recommend continuing to diagnose dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s dementia as separate disorders.

The diagnosis is Parkinson’s disease dementia when a person is originally diagnosed with Parkinson’s based on movement symptoms and dementia symptoms don’t appear until a year or more later

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