Dementia is a common condition. Symptoms of dementia happen when the brain is damaged. It can lead to a gradual loss in being able to reason and remember things.
Symptoms of dementia
Your risk of developing a dementia increases as you get older. Being aware of general signs and symptoms of dementia is important. A timely diagnosis can help people with a dementia get the right treatment and support.
Memory loss is a symptom of a dementia.
Other symptoms include:
- increasing difficulty with tasks and activities that require concentration and planning
- changes in mood or behaviour that’s out of character
- periods of mental confusion
- difficulty finding the right words
People affected by dementia
Dementia is most prevalent among older people but can affect younger people. You should speak to your GP if you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above.
If you are forgetful, it doesn't mean you have a dementia.
Memory problems can also be caused by:
- drug side effects
- other health problems
It can be just as important to rule out these other problems or find ways to treat them.
Types of dementia
Dementia is a collection of symptoms that result from damage to the brain. The symptoms can be caused by:
- vascular dementia
- Alzheimer's disease
- dementia with Lewy bodies
- frontotemporal dementia
To read more about these conditions, go to:
Worrying about dementia
If you are worried about your memory or think you may have signs of a dementia, it's important to talk to your doctor.
If you're worried about someone else, who you think may have signs of a dementia, encourage them to see their GP. You could also suggest that you go along with them.
Why it's important to get a diagnosis
A timely diagnosis can help you:
- get the right treatments
- find the best sources of support
- make decisions about the future
A timely diagnosis can also help people close to you to prepare and plan for the future. With treatment and support, many people are able to lead active, fulfilled lives.
Where to find help and support
You can find more information and support services from the following organisations, see also ‘more useful links section’:
The Public Health Agency has also produced a range of information to help support people with a dementia, their families and friends.
This information includes the following publications:
- Ten common signs of dementia
- Early stages of dementia
- Communicating effectively with a person living with dementia
- Are you worried about dementia?
Cure for dementia
There is currently no cure for dementia. A healthy lifestyle may help delay the onset of dementia. It can also help to prevent cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and heart attacks.
- eating a healthy diet
- maintaining a healthy weight
- exercising regularly
- don't drink too much alcohol
- stopping smoking (if you smoke)
- making sure to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level
How dementia is treated
If you are diagnosed with a dementia, your doctor will discuss the most appropriate help and medical support for you.
Many types of dementia are not curable. But there is treatment and support that can help slow the progression of the condition and improve people's quality of life.
Treatment and support can make a big difference to your day-to-day living, for example enabling you to stay independent longer and enjoy your regular activities with family and friends.
More useful links
- Dementia campaign
- Dementia services - Northern Health and Social Care Trust
- Dementia services - Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
- Dementia services - South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust
- Dementia services - Southern Health and Social Care Trust
- Dementia services - Western Health and Social Care Trust
The information on this page has been adapted from original content from the NHS website.
For further information see terms and conditions.