What is Dementia?

Dementia is caused by damage to the brain from disease or a series of strokes. The nerve cells in the brain are damaged from these diseases, preventing messages from being sent to and from the brain. It is a progressive condition and at present, there is no cure.

Alzheimer’s is the most widely recognised cause of dementia and people are often confused as to whether they are the same thing or different conditions. Put simply Alzheimer’s, along with other diseases, results in dementia.

There are over 200 progressive conditions that cause dementia with the most common being Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewys bodies, frontotemporal dementia and mixed dementia.

The specific symptoms will depend on the parts of the brain that are affected, but often initial symptoms are small and similar to what we would expect to be a normal part of ageing such as memory loss.

A person may also start to notice changes in mood and behaviour.

Dementia can affect anyone at any age but is most common in people over the age of 65. Anyone with dementia before this age has ‘early onset dementia’.