There is much confusion about dementia and people have many questions such as:
- What is dementia?
- Is Alzheimer’s and dementia the same thing?
- What causes dementia?
- How many types of dementia are there?
This section aims to answer some of those questions with a simple breakdown of the meaning of the word dementia, the symptoms and the diseases that cause it.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is not a disease in itself. Dementia is an umbrella term that describes the symptoms that occur when the brain is affected by certain diseases or conditions.
Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by disease. The specific symptoms that someone with dementia experiences will depend on the parts of the brain that are damaged and the disease that is causing the dementia but will include problems (which have become severe enough to affect daily life) with the following:
- Communication & language
- Planning & problem solving
- Ability to focus
- Reasoning & judgement
- Visual perception
What causes dementia?
There are a number of diseases which cause dementia:
- Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.
- Vascular dementia.
- Mixed dementia.
- Dementia with Lewy bodies.
- Frontotemporal dementia .
- Rarer forms of dementia.
The symptoms of dementia are often different in the early stages but become more similar in the later stages. This is because more of the brain becomes affected as the different diseases progress.
Dementia can cause swallowing difficulties known as dysphagia.