Dementia

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What is Dementia?

Dementia is not a specific disease. It is a descriptive term for a collection of symptoms that can be caused by a number of disorders that affect the brain. People with dementia have significantly impaired intellectual functioning that interferes with normal activities and relationships. They also lose their ability to solve problems and maintain emotional control, and they may experience personality changes and behavioral problems, such as agitation, delusions, and hallucinations. While memory loss is a common symptom of dementia, memory loss by itself does not mean that a person has dementia. Doctors diagnose dementia only if two or more brain functions - such as memory and language skills -- are significantly impaired without loss of consciousness.  Some of the diseases that can cause symptoms of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease (AD is a progressive disease, but its course can vary from 5 to 20 years. The most common cause of death in AD patients is infection.), vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.  Doctors have identified other conditions that can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms including reactions to medications, metabolic problems and endocrine abnormalities, nutritional deficiencies, infections, poisoning, brain tumors, anoxia or hypoxia (conditions in which the brain’s oxygen supply is either reduced or cut off entirely), and heart and lung problems.  Although it is common in very elderly individuals, dementia is not a normal part of the aging process.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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Recommended Reading: Doctors in Gray: The Confederate Medical Service (339 pages) (Louisiana State University Press). Description: Horace Herndon Cunningham has created a comprehensive history of the "Confederate medical services in the Civil War." Cunningham explains in great detail the many afflictions and circumstances that befell Confederate soldiers and ultimately resulted in medical treatment by the Confederate doctor. Ironically, his research reflects that the majority of the ill and wounded soldiers who died had expired due to a burgeoning and developing medical system. Continued below...

Medical advancements, however, had progressed from primitive to slightly better by the end of the conflict. Cunningham further explains that while the Confederate doctors did the best that they could with their resources and shortcomings, there were some exceptional doctors who aided in the advancement of both medicine and medical treatment.
 

Recommended Reading: This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War. Editorial Review from Publishers Weekly: Battle is the dramatic centerpiece of Civil War history; this penetrating study looks instead at the somber aftermath. Historian Faust (Mothers of Invention) notes that the Civil War introduced America to death on an unprecedented scale and of an unnatural kind—grisly, random and often ending in an unmarked grave far from home. Continued below...

She surveys the many ways the Civil War generation coped with the trauma: the concept of the Good Death—conscious, composed and at peace with God; the rise of the embalming industry; the sad attempts of the bereaved to get confirmation of a soldier's death, sometimes years after war's end; the swelling national movement to recover soldiers' remains and give them decent burials; the intellectual quest to find meaning—or its absence—in the war's carnage. In the process, she contends, the nation invented the modern culture of reverence for military death and used the fallen to elaborate its new concern for individual rights. Faust exhumes a wealth of material—condolence letters, funeral sermons, ads for mourning dresses, poems and stories from Civil War–era writers—to flesh out her lucid account. The result is an insightful, often moving portrait of a people torn by grief. Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Dementia Definition, What is Dementia? Signs, Symptoms, Causes, Origins, Description, Diagnosis, Medical Treatment, Patient History, Facts, Details, Disease, Diseases, Disorder, Disorders

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