Dementia Facts And The Prevalence Of it

Updated January 24, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Dementia Can Have Drastic Effects On Your Life

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Dementia is the seventh leading cause of death worldwide and affects more than 55 million people around the globe. Despite this, there are a lot of misconceptions about dementia. Here are some facts everyone should know about this syndrome.

Fact: Alzheimer's Is the Most Prevalent Form Of Dementia

Dementia is an umbrella term that categorizes different diseases involving the breakdown of one's cognition, and the most well-known of these diseases is Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, accounting for over half of all dementia diagnoses.

Fact: Younger People Can Get Dementia Too

Dementia is commonly associated with your senior years; some even think cognitive decline is a typical sign of aging. However, dementia is not a typical sign of aging. Not only that, but you can get dementia before you reach 65. You have a higher chance of developing the condition the older you get, but it is not unheard of for someone in their 40s or younger to get it. In the US, about 300,000 to 360,000 people have early-onset Alzheimer's, starting before age 65.

Fact: Exercise May Help Prevent Dementia

Being physically fit may reduce the chances of developing dementia. Exercise can help improve your mental well-being, so it makes sense that working out can help reduce your risk of dementia. It can also help manage the symptoms if you already have them. That said, for some forms of dementia, like Alzheimer’s, there is nothing you can do to prevent them.

Fact: Dementia Can Kill You

While you may not die from the disease itself, many of the complications can be fatal. For example, for Alzheimer's, the following risks apply:

  • Alzheimer's makes it difficult to swallow, which can lead to choking. Caregivers should ensure that their loved one isn't choking on their food whenever they eat.

  • Alzheimer's weakens the immune system, making patients more prone to blood clots or infections.

  • Pneumonia can result from choking or swallowing difficulties, which can sometimes be fatal.

Fact: More Women Get Dementia Than Men

Women are more likely to get dementia than men, likely because women tend to live longer, increasing their chances of getting dementia. In America, about two in three patients with Alzheimer's are women.

Fact: Dementia Affects People Differently

When you think of dementia, you might imagine someone losing their memories and sense of self. However, dementia can affect some people in other ways. Patients with dementia may hallucinate or have trouble speaking, changing taste in foods, entirely new personalities, and more. Some may keep their memories but lose everything else. This is why it is difficult to treat.

Fact: There Is No Cure

Some forms of dementia may have ways to prevent it or slow down the symptoms, but to date, there is no cure for them, especially Alzheimer's, where there is no way to slow down the disease. Sometimes, you can treat the symptoms through medication and therapy, but no cure has been developed as of this post. Hopefully, there will be one someday.

Dementia Can Have Drastic Effects On Your Life

Fact: Dementia Research Is Underfunded

Dementia research is still underfunded compared to other diseases, despite its prevalence. While this is somewhat understandable, as diseases like cancer and heart disease are still the top killers, with the numbers rising, one would expect that the research would catch up to the severity. If you are interested in treating dementia, it's an excellent time to investigate dementia research and see if you can join the fight.

Fact: Scientists Are Unsure What Causes Alzheimer's

The brain is more complex than many imagine, and figuring out what causes Alzheimer's is difficult. Researchers don’t yet fully understand what causes Alzheimer’s. It is speculated that genetics and lifestyle contribute to the chances of getting the disease, but nothing is concrete yet. Some forms of dementia have more of a definite cause, but for Alzheimer's, the evidence is still inconclusive as to what causes it.

Fact: Every Minute, Someone In The US Develops Alzheimer's

There is a new case about every 66 seconds. It is speculated by 2050, someone will develop Alzheimer's every 33 seconds.

Dementia And Race

Alzheimer's seems to affect races at different rates. African-Americans may have twice the risk of dementia as white people; Hispanics are 1.5 times as likely to develop it.

Dementia And The World

Some may believe dementia only affects people in Western societies, but this is not true. There have been many cases in the East, especially in China. Dementia is a worldwide phenomenon.

Caregiver Facts

Although it is possible to live with dementia and be independent, at some point, the patient will need a caregiver to help them with their daily lives. About four out of five caregivers are unpaid, and they are usually friends or families.

Caregivers are usually women; many are the daughters of patients with Alzheimer's. Taking care of a patient with Alzheimer's is stressful for the family, with many suffering financial, emotional, or physical hardships. There are significant economic costs of dementia.

More About Costs

Annually, the cost of taking care of dementia patients may be over a quarter trillion. By 2050, the cost may be over a trillion by the standards of the value of the dollar today. People with dementia have more hospital benefits and account for many nursing home patients.

Diagnosing Early

While there is no way to prevent many forms of dementia, diagnosing early can help. This allows the patient to plan their life while they can still enjoy the rest of their life until they succumb to the disease. Also, early diagnosis can save money in the long run. How does it save money in the long run?

Fact: Counseling Is Important For Everyone Involved With Dementia

Dementia can be stressful to live with. If you have been diagnosed with dementia, your cognitive functions will inevitably break down over time, and you may need someone to take care of you. This can lead to a loss of motivation and not knowing what to do with the remainder of your life.

Meanwhile, the caregivers of those with dementia can be under significant stress. They might feel physically and mentally exhausted and worry about the future of their loved one, as well as their finances.

Therapy Can Help

While no solution fits every situation, one way to find some answers is through counseling. A good counselor might be able to give the patient with dementia motivation to carry on and help caregivers make time for themselves and make sure their mental health is in check.

Online therapy has many benefits for people with dementia and their caregivers. You don’t have to worry about getting to and from appointments in an office or being put on a waiting list. With online therapy, you’re matched with an available counselor so you can start treatment right away. 

Research shows that online therapy is effective at treating a variety of conditions. One review showed that people who participated in online treatment saw a 50% reduction in symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and depression, just to name a few, and . significantly decreased the impact of chronic fatigue and stress. If you’re interested in learning more, reach out to a BetterHelp therapist to get started.


Although there are multiple forms of dementia, a condition experienced by people worldwide, it is still misunderstood in many ways. If you have signs of dementia or are caring for someone who does, online therapy can help you learn how to manage the tough times ahead.

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