What is dementia?

We explain what dementia is, including the causes and symptoms, and how it is diagnosed and treated. We also look at the different types of dementia.

Along with all our usual information on dementia, we have more advice to support you during coronavirus.

What is dementia?

The word ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language.

These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia they have become severe enough to affect daily life.

A person with dementia may also experience changes in their mood or behaviour.

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Causes of dementia

Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but not the only one.

The specific symptoms that someone with dementia experiences will depend on the parts of the brain that are damaged and the disease that is causing the dementia.

What is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer's disease?

If you’re not sure of the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, you’re not alone. We provide a simple explanation to understand the difference.

Find out more

Accessible versions of this information

Watch a signed version of our information about dementia or listen to it in an audio version.

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More practical and emotional support near you

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