UBA image header UBA Home Page
bottom corner

Straight Talk About Dementia

Dementia isn't a specific disease. Instead, it describes a group of symptoms affecting intellectual and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning. It's caused by conditions or changes in the brain. Different types of dementia exist, depending on the cause. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type.

Memory loss generally occurs in dementia, but memory loss alone doesn't mean you have dementia. Dementia indicates problems with at least two brain functions, such as memory loss along with impaired judgment or language. Dementia can make you confused and unable to remember people and names. You may also experience changes in personality and social behavior. However, some causes of dementia are treatable and even reversible.

Dementia has many causes. It's not always caused by the same disease. And some dementias, such as Alzheimer's disease, occur on their own, and not as a result of another disease. Much is still unknown about how some diseases may be linked to dementia.

Dementias can be classified in a variety of ways and are often grouped together by what they have in common, such as what part of the brain is affected, or whether they get worse with time (progressive dementias). Some dementias, such as those caused by a reaction to medications or an infection, are reversible with treatment.

Dementia symptoms vary depending on the cause, but common signs and symptoms include:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Inability to learn or remember new information
  • Difficulty with planning and organizing
  • Difficulty with coordination and motor functions
  • Personality changes
  • Inability to reason
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations

When to see a doctor

See a doctor if you or a loved one experiences memory problems or other dementia symptoms. Some medical conditions can cause symptoms of dementia and are treatable, so it's important that a doctor determine the underlying cause. Early diagnosis is also important so that treatment can begin before symptoms get worse.

If the diagnosis is a dementia that will progressively worsen over time, such as Alzheimer's disease, early diagnosis also gives a person time to plan for the future while he or she can still participate in making decisions.

Bottom shadow

Affiliated with

Bottom Right Corner