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Education

Understanding Dementia

According to the World Health Organization, around 50 million people are living with dementia. Every year as the population ages, there are close to 10 million new cases.

Although age is the most significant risk factor for dementia, dementia is NOT a normal part of aging.

There is currently no cure for dementia; however, researchers are exploring new treatments to decrease the progression of the disease.
Studies show we can protect our brains and reduce our risk by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, knowing our numbers, and managing high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Getting enough sleep, reducing stress, staying socially active, and protecting our brains from injury are essential.

Over 120,000 people are diagnosed with dementia in Wisconsin, and more than 196,000 people care for loved ones with the disease.

What is Dementia?


Dementia is a broad term used to describe symptoms of cognitive decline.
It is an “umbrella” of symptoms of several underlying diseases and brain disorders.


Dementia itself is not a single disease but a general description of impairment in two or more areas of brain function. This includes memory, language, problem-solving, impulse control, and other thinking skills. These symptoms are severe enough to affect one’s ability to do everyday tasks.

Dementia is not a normal part of aging.

While Alzheimer’s disease is the most commonly known cause of dementia, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and mixed dementia (more than one type of dementia occurring in the same brain) can occur. While sometimes seeming similar, each of these diseases impacts the brain differently, may have different symptoms and can cause changes in other abilities.