Common misunderstandings about dementia

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

Thinking Dementia

As there is still so much to learn about the condition it is not surprising that many misunderstandings and confusion exist around what dementia is.

Dementia is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning.

The symptoms may include problems with:

- memory loss

- thinking

- speed

- mental sharpness and quickness

- language

- understanding

- judgement

- mood 

- movement

- difficulties carrying out daily activities

There are many different causes of dementia. The vast majority of cases are Alzheimer's disease and Vascular dementia although, there are many other conditions that would fall under the umbrella of dementia.

There are certain things that can be said for definite and these should help you if you are concerned that you or someone close to you may have it.

  • In general, Dementia is not inherited (except in a very few rare cases). If someone in your family has dementia, you are at no higher risk of developing it yourself.

  • You cannot catch dementia – it is not contagious.

  • Most people with dementia do not die of dementia, they die of illnesses and infections that everyone else gets.

  • At the moment there is no clinical evidence that eating fish, ‘superfoods’ or special supplements will protect you against dementia.

  • If you are overweight or have high blood pressure, you could be at higher risk of developing dementia because you are at higher risk of having a stroke or heart disease.

  • People with dementia are not like children. They will not respond if you treat them as such.

  • Many people with dementia, with the right support and access to help and information can lead productive and happy lives for many years.


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