10 things you need to know about the different diseases that cause dementia

1. Dementia is not a disease in itself, it is a word used to describe a group of symptoms that occur when brain cells stop working properly.(33)

2. The most common diseases that cause dementia are Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, vascular dementia and Frontotemporal dementia.

3. The most common disease that causes dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which affects around two thirds of people with dementia.(34)

4. Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.

5. Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is the third most common cause of dementia. It affects about 15 per cent of people with dementia, over 100,000 people in the UK.(35)

6. Frontotemporal dementia or FTD (sometimes called Pick’s disease) is a relatively rare form of dementia.

7. It is possible to have more than one of these diseases at the same time, for example Alzheimer’s is sometimes seen with vascular dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies. This can be called ‘mixed dementia’.(36)

8. There is currently no cure or disease-modifying treatment for the diseases that cause dementia.

9. There are several drugs that can help some people with a diagnosis of dementia and several types of cognitive therapy that might be beneficial for people across all types of dementia. Drug treatments currently available can address particular symptoms in some people, but they are not a cure and don’t stop the disease from progressing in the brain.

10. Alzheimer’s Research UK provides information about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatments for the different forms of dementia. View our information pages for more detail.

View our references.

These facts were last updated in March 2016 and will be refreshed every few months.