What is dementia?

Dementia, pronounced dih-men-shuh, is not a specific condition or a disease. Instead, 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. A sufferer’s mental impairment can range from mild to severe. The condition may also result in changes in a 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 the term ‘dementia’ to irreversible mental deterioration. 

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 a doctor in order to get an accurate diagnosis. However, it is important to remembet that in most cases, those experiencing memory loss have nothing to worry about. This can just be a natural part of ageing and there are some cognitive exercises that can be done to help improve the brain's plasticity (i.e. it's ability to reorganise itself and form new connections) and memory function. 



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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