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Dementia is the loss of intellectual functions. Often it starts with difficulty remembering things (especially for recent events) and with difficulty thinking (reasoning), and slowly progresses to not knowing where you are, not recognising people you know, not being able to speak coherently or feed yourself. It is very rare below age 55 years, but gets more common as you get older, affecting 20% of people above age 80 years. A condition where brain damage can be seen under the microscope (Alzheimer's disease) is the most common form of dementia, especially when over 60 years old. Another cause is having recurrent small strokes (multi-infarct dementia) which stop small areas of the brain functioning due to lack of blood. Chronic alcohol abuse can also cause dementia. Death is often from infection, with the patient unable to describe symptoms or cooperate with treatment. On average death occurs six years after dementia is first obvious.

Global Burden of Disease estimated in 2002 dementia to cause 2.3% of all Rich territory burden of disease.

Dementia caused 0.7% of all deaths worldwide in 2002, an average of 64 deaths per million people per year.

International Classification of Diseases-10 codes: F01, F03, G30-G31,

Territories are sized in proportion to the absolute number of people who died from alzheimer and other dementias in one year.

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