Contrary to popular belief, dementia is not a specific disease of the mind, but a group of conditions characterized by impairment of at least two brain functions, such as memory loss and judgment.
Symptoms of dementia can include memory loss and forgetfulness. Impairment of judgement is another cited symptom. Loss of comprehension (to the point where it affects everyday life and functions), and loss of social skills is another.
Dementia is a chronic illness that cannot be cured. It affects over 3 million people on average in the United States every year. However, there are ways that you can catch it before it begins. It all starts with your genetics.
What can I do about Dementia?
Dementia can run in your family whether you know it or not. Genetic testing is a way to see whether or not you and your family members are at risk.
People identified with a disease-causing change have an increased risk of developing the associated disease. Genetic testing can be beneficial in the planning and decision-making process for treatment. Counseling, study enrollment, and support programs are available. Your family members can also be tested to help define their risk. If a variant is identified, close relatives (children, siblings, and parents) are up to 50% more likely to also be at increased risk.
Talk to your primary care physician about genetic testing. Finding out if you could possibly start showing signs of having dementia can help.