This Help Sheet provided by Alzheimers Australia describes dementia, who gets it and some of its most common forms. It describes some early signs of dementia and emphasises the importance of a timely medical diagnosis.
Dementia describes a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. It is not one specific disease. Dementia affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Brain function is affected enough to interfere with the person’s normal social or working life. The hallmark of dementia is the inability to carry out everyday activities as a consequence of diminished cognitive ability. Doctors diagnose dementia if two or more cognitive functions are significantly impaired. The cognitive functions affected can include memory, language skills, understanding information, spatial skills, judgement and attention. People with dementia may have difficulty solving problems and controlling their emotions. They may also experience personality changes. The exact symptoms experienced by a person with dementia depend on the areas of the brain that are damaged by the disease causing the dementia. With many types of dementia, some of the nerve cells in the brain stop functioning, lose connections with other cells, and die. Dementia is usually progressive. This means that the disease gradually spreads through the brain and the person’s symptoms get worse over time. Read More