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Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia

Dementia is a decline in cognitive function or mental ability - thinking, reasoning and remembering. People with dementia have difficulty independently carrying out daily tasks they have performed routinely throughout their lives. The most common forms of dementia in the elderly are Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, a hardening of the arteries in the brain that causes blockage in blood flow. These two conditions account for the vast majority of cases, and although their symptoms can sometimes be managed, they are irreversible. The dementia associated with Alzheimer's will progressively worsen.

Dementia can also be caused by infection; drug interactions; metabolic disorders of the thyroid, liver, pancreas or kidneys; nutritional deficiencies, especially the lack of vitamin B-12; head injury; brain tumors; depression; or other progressive degenerative diseases of the brain.

If a decline in mental function makes an impression on friends and family, and begins to interfere with daily activities, employment tasks, social interactions, and family chores, set up an appointment with a doctor to accurately determine the underlying cause of the symptoms.

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Disclaimer: The information provided is a public service of the BrightFocus Foundation and is not intended to constitute medical advice. It should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice; all medications and supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical product or therapy.

Last Review: 04/11/15

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