Everything you need to know about dementia

Everything you need to know about dementia

This is the most recent edition of the Medical Myths series. Today, in celebration of World Alzheimer’s Day, we will look at myths that relate to Alzheimer’s disease as well as dementia in general.

By Tim Newman 21 September 2020Checked for accuracy by Zia Sherrell, MPH

Within our Medical Myths series, we tackle medical misinformation head-on. By utilizing expert knowledge and peer-reviewed research to separate truth away from myth, MNT provides clarity in the tangled health journalism.

Today, it is estimated that 5.8 million Trusted Source individuals aged 65 years plus in the United States have dementia.

Because the lifespan of individuals within the U.S. has increased over the past few decades, a number of experts believe that in 2050, the number of people with dementia could rise to 13.8 million.

These figures create legitimate fear and, as we’ve seen in our previous Medical Myths articles, Fear can breed myths.

The article we are writing about attempt to dispel 11 of these myths.

The risk of developing dementia is inevitable as we age.The statement is not accurate. The condition is not a typical process of aging.

According to a study that The Alzheimer’s Association published, Alzheimer’s disease is the most frequent type of dementia and is a problem for 3 percent of people between 65 and 74 and older in the U.S.

Due to the risk getting higher with getting older, 17% of people between the ages of 75-84, as well as 32% of those who are 85 and over, have been diagnosed with dementia.

This isn’t quite right. Alzheimer’s is one of the types of dementia that accounts for 60 to 80 percent of all cases of dementia. Other forms of dementia include frontotemporal (FTD) as well as mixed dementia, vascular dementia and Lewy body dementia.

The National Institute on AgingTrusted Source defines Alzheimer’s disease as “the loss of cognitive functioning — thinking, remembering, and reasoning — and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.”

Although all types of dementia share certain traits, each has its own distinct pathology.

Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by the accumulation of plaques and tangles within the brain. These structures hinder brain cells and eventually kill them. However, the death of brain cells in vascular dementia happens due to the lack of oxygen. This could result in a stroke, for example.

FTD is a different instance, as abnormal structures of the protein are formed in the temporal and frontal brain lobes, which causes brain cells that reside in these areas to cease to function.

There is a common belief that dementia is only a genetic. This means that when a family member of a person is diagnosed with dementia and is diagnosed with dementia, they will be diagnosed with dementia later on in their lives. But this isn’t true.

While there is a genetic component to certain types of dementia, however, the vast majority of cases don’t possess a significant genetic connection.

As we’ve seen above, more than genetic causes, the main risk factor for developing dementia is age. If an individual’s parent or grandparent was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s while younger than 65, the probability of passing it to the next generation is greater.

Early-onset Alzheimer’s is a rare condition. However, it is not uncommon. It’s found in approximately 5.5%Trusted source of cases of Alzheimer’s.

Since the majority of cases of dementia are caused by Alzheimer’s disease, this implies that the majority of dementia cases are not genetic. FTD is less prevalent and has a stronger genetic connection; however, when a grandparent or parent is diagnosed with the disease, however, this does not mean that the children or grandchildren are destined to be affected.

Presently, FTD affects an estimated 15-22 of every 100,000 Trusted Source individuals. Of these people, 10-15% have a history of family members of the disease.


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