Who? - Dementia sufferers

Who? - Dementia sufferers
Dementia is a syndrome, a combination of complaints. Problems with (short-term) memory, behavioral and character changes are common symptoms. But not only the memory is disturbed (see box Criteria for dementia).

Who?

 

There are a quarter of a million people with dementia in the Netherlands. In an average general practice, there are forty dementia patients per full-time general practitioner and dementia is diagnosed in two to five patients per year. The number of people suffering from dementia is increasing because more and more elderly people are coming. 10% of people over 65 years of age are demented, 20% of them are demented and 40% over 90 years of age. There are also more and more demented people with a migrant background, in 2016 more than 10% of the total number of demented people. People with a mental disability start dementing at a somewhat younger age on average. The number of people suffering from dementia is also increasing among them. Most people with dementia live at home. This also applies to the group of moderately-severely demented people. Only at a late stage do they qualify for admission to a nursing home.

 

Dementia is a syndrome, a combination of complaints. Problems with (short-term) memory, behavioral and character changes are common symptoms. But not only the memory is disturbed (see box Criteria for dementia). Other cognitive functions also decrease, such as: planning skills, orientation ability, recognition of objects and faces, language proficiency, following a conversation, resolving power, performing everyday activities, switching from one task to another. These changes have a major impact on functioning in daily life and in social contacts.

 

Criteria for dementia

  • Disorder in (short-term) memory, and
  • Another cognitive impairment (e.g., orientation disorder, aphasia), and
  • The negative influence of this on daily functioning and on social contacts, and
  • There is no delirium (acute confusion due to a physical cause).

 

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Types of dementia

Dementia can be caused by various diseases. Alzheimer's disease is the best known and most common cause. Other types are Pick's disease (frontotemporal dementia), vascular dementia and "Lewy body" dementia. The latter form is common in people with Parkinson's disease. We do not discuss less common causes here.

 

Dementia mainly occurs after the age of 65, but Pick's disease often develops earlier. Then you speak of young people suffering from dementia. The symptoms and the course of dementia differ between the types and differ from person to person. People with Down's syndrome or other mental disability often start dementia before the age of 65. Table shows differences between the most common types of dementia. Not all types of dementia have memory problems in the foreground. In "Lewy body" dementia, for example, memory disorders only occur late in the disease process.

 

Characteristics of types of dementia

  Alzheimer's dementia Vascular dementia Frontotemporal dementia

"Lewy body" dementia

(Parkinson's dementia)

Percentage of the total  40 - 60 %  15 %  < 5 %  10 %
Severe memory disorders  +  +    Leave in the disease process
Behavioral changes  +    +  
Character changes  +    +  
Changing image    +    +
Hallucinations        +
Depression    +    +
Slowness    +    +
Muscle stiffness        +

 

+ = Is common, is in the foreground.