What Is Dementia?

Dementia is characterized by a constellation of symptoms and signs including disturbances in memory, attention, reasoning, behavior, executive function and mood amongst others. About 5 million Americans have dementia. Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular dementia and Lewy body dementia are the most common types of dementia seen in clinical practice. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) often a precursor to dementia can occur in 10%-20% of individuals over the age of 65. There are several risk factors for dementia that can be addressed to delay or prevent the onset of the illness. There are many warning signs of dementia which are often missed by family members leading to a delay in diagnosis and treatment. There are several FDA approved treatments for the memory disturbances in dementia including donepezil, rivastigmine, memantine and galantamine which can be used alone or in combination. Unfortunately there are still many unmet needs in the diagnosis and treatment of this illness.

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