A syndrome associated with a continuous decline of brain function.

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What is dementia

  • Dementia describes a set of symptoms which are associated with an ongoing decline of brain functions. These symptoms can include memory loss, and difficulties with problems solving and language. These symptoms may appear gradually, but can start to affect a person's every day life.

    There are different causes of dementia, and many different types including:
    Alzheimer's disease
  • Vascular dementia
  • Lewy body dementia.
  • Parkinson's.

Need to know

There are many different types of dementia, but they have some similar symptoms and usually as the condition progresses, it may start to impact:

  • memory loss
  • thinking speed
  • mental agility
  • language
  • understanding
  • judgement
  • mood
  • movement
  • carrying out daily activities

You may also struggle to control their emotions and lose interest in social situations. 

Your neurologist will discuss your symptoms and medical history with you to help make a diagnosis. They will ask you about your memory and whether the way you think has started to change.

If you are concerned about a loved one, it's important to raise these issues on their behalf. You or they may be asked to take neurological tests such as a memory test, which may be repeated at regular intervals. This is to see if there have been changes in memory.

Additional tests, such as blood tests and MRI scans, can also help to rule out any other illnesses such as a stroke or bleeding or tumours.

Your consultant will discuss your dementia treatment options. The following options may be discussed:

  • Medication. While dementia cannot be cured, medication can help improve some of the symptoms such as dizziness, and memory loss.
  • Therapy. Working with an occupational therapist to make the home environment safer can also help. They can also advise you how to help a loved one with dementia, and tell you what to expect as the illness progresses.
  • Other therapies such as art, music and pet therapy can provide mental stimulation for someone with dementia.

Patient stories

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.