The word dementia is an umbrella term that describes a set of symptoms that occur when the brain is damaged by certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes.

The symptoms may include memory/cognition problems; confusion; difficulties with thinking and problem solving; depression and mood changes; difficulties with language, communication and reasoning.


Causes of Dementia

Alzheimer’s disease – this is a physical disease caused by changes in the structure of the brain and a shortage of important chemicals that help with transmission of messages.

Vascular dementia – this is caused by problems with the blood supply to the brain, commonly caused by a stroke or a series of small strokes.

Mixed dementia – this is caused by a combination of both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) – one of the less common forms of dementia which is caused by irregularities in brain cells which lead to degeneration of brain tissue and symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Fronto-temporal dementia (including Pick’s disease) – a physical disease that affects the front part of the brain. Personality and behaviour are initially more affected than memory. It is a rare condition when all ages are taken into account but relatively common in younger people with dementia.

Rarer causes of dementia – there are other rarer diseases and syndromes that can lead to dementia or dementia-like symptoms including Posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), Corticobasal degeneration (CBD) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).