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What is dementia?
Dementia is not one illness but a group of symptoms caused by damage to the brain. Dementia is caused by a number of diseases of the brain, the most common of which is Alzheimer's disease. Vascular dementia is the second most common cause. High blood pressure, heart problems, high cholesterol and diabetes can increase the chances of developing vascular dementia.
Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms will gradually get worse. How fast dementia progresses will depend on the individual person and what type of dementia they have.
Each person is unique and will experience dementia in their own way. It is often the case that the person's family and friends are more concerned about the symptoms than the person may be themselves.
The Government recently launched an awareness campaign this tells you what signs you should look out for which could be the early symptoms of dementia. These are:
What to do next if you are concerned
If you are worried about someone the most important thing to do is to encourage them to go and see their doctor. The sooner the better, this is because spotting the signs of dementia early means they can get the right treatment and support as soon as possible.
Although there is currently no cure for dementia, treatment and support can help people live active and fulfilling lives with dementia. In some cases a specialist may be able to prescribe medication that can help reduce symptoms of dementia and help cope with it. There is a lot that you can do in the early stages that can help to make life easier and more enjoyable, both now and in the future.
You may find it useful to read The Alzheimer's Society leaflet 'What if I have dementia'.
The Alzheimer's Society
Hampshire County Council's website has a range of information on independent living for older people. It also includes information from partner agencies, district and borough councils, charities and voluntary organisations.
An NHS awareness campaign for carers of people with dementia and for patients who have dementia. Courses are designed to provide information, support and advice in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. You can access this course if: