Myths and Misconceptions About Dementia

Did you know that in Singapore, 1 in 10 people above the age of 60 suffers from dementia. This corresponds to approximately 82,000 people in 2018 and this number is projected to increase to 152,000 by 2030.

That said, not many of us know of this disease that is so prevalent. Today, we’ll debunk the five most common myths about dementia, Alzheimer’s and memory loss. 

Myth # 1: All memory loss = Dementia

One of the most common misunderstandings regarding dementia is that any type of memory loss is Alzheimer’s disease. While Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent type of dementia, there are several others. Memory loss can be caused by a number of underlying abnormalities in the brain, but memory loss is only one aspect of dementia diagnosis.

Myth # 2: Dementia is hereditary

While there are a few uncommon kinds of dementia with a significant hereditary connection, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are not inherited in the vast majority of instances. You can’t control your genes, but there are some very, very effective things people can do to reduce their risk of dementia.

Myth # 3: Your brain should not see much changes if you are healthy

Researchers are always learning more about how our brains alter function as we become older. In fact, the brain has its own lymphatic system. Lymphatic veins, which are found in the outermost membrane of the brain, function as a ‘cleaning mechanism,’ draining big molecules and immune cells from cerebrospinal fluid to the brain’s outer regions. No one knew there was a lymphatic system in the brain until approximately ten years ago. Today, it’s becoming evident that brain health is inextricably linked to the health of other organs.

Myth #4: You’ll definitely get dementia when you’re older

Dementia is not a normal part of ageing. According to a report that the Alzheimer’s Association published, Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia, affects 3% of people aged 65–74 years in the U.S. As a result of the risk increasing as we age, 17% of people aged 75–84 years and 32% of people aged 85 years and older have a dementia diagnosis.

Myth #5: I am young, I will not be affected

While dementia is more common in older people, it may also strike younger people in rare situations. Early-onset dementia affects 38–260 individuals in 100,000 people aged 30–64 years, or 0.038–0.26 percent of the population, according to some experts. This rises to almost 420 individuals per 100,000, or 0.4 percent, in the 55–64 age group.

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