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What is dementia?

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If someone you love gets diagnosed with dementia, it means they have a progressive and sometimes chronic brain condition that causes problems with their thinking, behavior, and memory.

Dementia itself is not a disease, but a syndrome. Its symptoms are common to several brain diseases.

It will get worse over time. But medications might slow that decline and help with symptoms, such as behavior changes.

There are many different types of dementia. Your loved one's treatments will depend on the type they have.

SOURCES:

Alzheimer's Association: "Types of Dementia," "What Is Alzheimer's?""Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome,""Frontotemporal Dementia,""Mixed Dementia Symptoms."

National Institute on Aging: "Alzheimer's Disease,""About Alzheimer's Disease: Symptoms.""Lewy Body Dementia: Information for Patients, Families, and Professionals."

Centers for Disease Control: "Healthy Aging: Alzheimer's Disease."

Grabowski, TJ. Clinical features and diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. UpToDate. Nov. 20, 2014.

National Institute on Aging: "Lewy Body Dementia: Information for Patients, Families, and Professionals."

McKhann, G. M.Alzheimer's Dementia, May 2011.

UpToDate: "Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus," "Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease," "Clinical Features and Diagnosis of Dementia with Lewy Bodies," "Frontotemporal Dementia: Clinical Features and Diagnosis," "Wernicke Encephalopathy," "Huntington Disease: Clinical Features and Diagnosis," "Etiology, Clinical Manifestations, and Diagnosis of Vascular Dementia."

Reviewed by Jennifer Casarella on September 29, 2020

SOURCES:

Alzheimer's Association: "Types of Dementia," "What Is Alzheimer's?""Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome,""Frontotemporal Dementia,""Mixed Dementia Symptoms."

National Institute on Aging: "Alzheimer's Disease,""About Alzheimer's Disease: Symptoms.""Lewy Body Dementia: Information for Patients, Families, and Professionals."

Centers for Disease Control: "Healthy Aging: Alzheimer's Disease."

Grabowski, TJ. Clinical features and diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. UpToDate. Nov. 20, 2014.

National Institute on Aging: "Lewy Body Dementia: Information for Patients, Families, and Professionals."

McKhann, G. M.Alzheimer's Dementia, May 2011.

UpToDate: "Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus," "Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease," "Clinical Features and Diagnosis of Dementia with Lewy Bodies," "Frontotemporal Dementia: Clinical Features and Diagnosis," "Wernicke Encephalopathy," "Huntington Disease: Clinical Features and Diagnosis," "Etiology, Clinical Manifestations, and Diagnosis of Vascular Dementia."

Reviewed by Jennifer Casarella on September 29, 2020

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What is Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome?

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