WHAT IS DEMENTIA?
Memory ability often deteriorates with aging. However, memory loss that is accompanied by impaired daily function in elderly is not always normal. It may be a symptom of dementia.
Nowadays, it is estimated that about 7.3 million people suffer from dementia in Europe and among them 150.000 in Greece. Almost all demented patients exhibit psychiatric symptoms, which burden both themselves and their relatives.
Dementia is used as a general term to describe the progressive decline primarily in memory, as well as in other cognitive functions, such as thinking, volition and judgment. Most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease and is characterized by neural brain loss and impaired function.
The most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease have been described as the "4As"
Amnesia: impaired ability in recalling recent events, patient repeats same questions about a particular topic again and again together with loss of his/her belongings, because he/she can not remember where he/she has placed them.
Aphasia: impaired ability in communicating with others and understanding their sayings, difficulties in language comprehension and formulation, with vague and meaningless speech.
Apraxia: impaired ability in completion of specific activities, patient puts his/her clothes upside down, he/she cannot use knife and fork.
Agnosia: failure in recognition or identification of familiar objects, faces or places.