What is dementia?

Getting older and forgetfulness often go hand in hand. Many people experience slight memory loss that does not necessarily impact their daily activities and lives as they age. However, progressive memory loss (i.e. memory loss that worsens over time) may mean that one has dementia.

The dictionary describes dementia as a persistent or chronic condition that consists of mental processes that are the result of a brain injury or disease and is defined by mental disorders, impaired reasoning and personality changes.

Dementia, pronounced dih-men-shuh, is not a specific condition or a disease.

It describes a collective group of symptoms that affect the sufferer's memory, social skills, thinking (cognitive abilities) and their daily functioning. It is important to note that although dementia is typically defined by memory loss, the loss of one’s memory can have a number of different causes.

Dementia may be the result of several injuries or illnesses. The sufferer’s mental impairment normally ranges between mild and severe. Dementia can also result in changes in the person’s memory. Some forms of dementia are progressive, meaning they worsen over time. There are types of dementia that can be treated and possibly even reversed. Some experts restrict the use of ‘dementia’ as a term to denote mental deterioration that is irreversible. 

The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease1,2. If you or a loved one are experiencing progressive memory loss, then it is advised that you consult with your doctor in order to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment if needed. In a variety of cases, those experiencing memory loss have nothing to worry about.

The information in the navigation menu above will assist you in exploring the various aspects of dementia, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and finding answers to any other questions you may have. 



1. Alzheimer's Association. What is Alzeimher's? Available: [Accessed 17.08.2018]
2. US National Library of Medicine. Nov 2011. Distinguishing Alzheimer's disease from other major forms of dementia. Available: [Accessed 17/08/2018]

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