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What is it?

What is dementia?

Dementia is a syndrome

This means it is a group of related symptoms and it is caused when the brain is damaged in some way.

That may be through a disease, such as Alzheimer's, or following a stroke.

There are many different types of dementia, but the symptoms are generally the same.

How it affects people

Dementia can affect people in many ways and not all of the symptoms listed below are experienced by everyone.

However, NHS Choices says people with the condition are likely to experience problems with:

Memory loss
Thinking speed
Mental agility
Language
Understanding
Judgement

Other symptoms include:

Difficulty concentrating and planning
Depression
Changes in personality and mood
Periods of mental confusion
Difficulty finding the right words 

Who it affects

Elderly

Dementia is most common amongst people aged over 65 and, as we get older, our chances of developing it increase.

The Alzheimer's Society says one in 14 people aged over 65 has dementia.

That rises to one in six people who are 80 or older.

But it does not only affect older people. More than 40,000 people in the UK who are under 65 also have dementia.

Is there a cure?

Unfortunately, in most cases, the answer is no. There is no beating around the bush but that does not mean there is nothing to be done to slow it down and to keep mental function.

A number of therapies are available which can help slow the progress of dementia.

Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is trialling a new scheme to help keep people independent for as long as possible.

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