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About dementias


Dementias defines a group of chronic degenerative diseases including a different conditions whose natural history is characterized by a more or less rapid progression of cognitive deficits, behavioral disorders and functional damage, with loss of autonomy and independence at different levels of disability, and subsequent dependence on others. Dementia affects social and work activities and causes a decline in the abilities of the affected person.

The different forms of dementia

There are different forms of dementia that can be categorized based on the progression of the disease.
Dementias can be either reversible or irreversible.
The reversible forms are a small percentage. Deficits in these cases are secondary to diseases or disorders affecting other organs or systems. A timely and adequate treatment of such causes determines also the regression of the cognitive decline with the patient recovering his/her original functional level.
The majority of dementias are irreversible. These are classified as primary dementias and secondary dementias. The primary forms are degenerative and include Alzheimer’s dementia (AD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). The most frequent of the secondary forms in vascular dementia (VaD). Irreversible dementias have both early and late symptoms that are quite specific and typical of each type. Differences tend to become less visible in the advanced phases of the disease, until disappearing.

The diagnosis of dementia

A timely diagnosis is essential to allow the implementation of either clinical or non-clinical interventions aimed at managing symptoms, taking into account the stage of the disease, the level of disability, and possible comorbidities. It is also essential and crucial to manage all possible clinical and non-clinical issues during all stages of the disease.

For further information:

McKhann GM, The diagnosis of dementia due to Alzheimer's disease: recommendations from the National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer's Association workgroups on diagnostic guidelines for Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimers Dement. 2011 May;7(3):263-9.leggi

Gorelick PB et al. Vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia: a statement for healthcare professionals from the american heart association/american stroke association. Stroke. 2011 Sep;42(9):2672-713. leggi

Neary D et al. Frontotemporal lobar degeneration: a consensus on clinical diagnostic criteria. Neurology. 1998 Dec;51(6):1546-54.leggi

McKeith IG et al. Consortium on DLB. Diagnosis and management of dementia with Lewy bodies: third report of the DLB Consortium. Neurology. 2005 Dec 27;65(12):1863-72.leggi

Emre M, et al Clinical diagnostic criteria for dementia associated with Parkinson's disease. Mov Disord. 2007 Sep 15;22(12):1689-707.leggi

Published 13-02-2014 in About dementias , last update 05-05-2016


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