Four things you need to know about dementia

There are still lots of myths and misunderstandings out there about dementia and the disease that cause it.

Here are our top four facts about dementia.


Dementia is more than memory loss

Dementia describes a set of symptoms including problems with remembering, thinking and speaking as well as behavioural changes.

It’s caused by diseases of the brain that damage our precious brain cells and the links between them. Alzheimer’s disease is most common, accounting for around two thirds of cases of dementia in older people. But there are several other types of dementia, including vascular dementia and frontotemporal dementia, each affecting people in very different ways.


Dementia is not a normal part of ageing

It’s true that our chances of developing dementia increase as we get older, but dementia is not just part and parcel of getting older.

The condition can sadly affect younger people too. Over 40,000 people in the UK under the age of 65 are living with dementia.


Dementia is rarely passed down in families

As dementia is so common, many of us will have a relative living with the condition - but this doesn’t mean we will get it too. Our risk of dementia is shaped by lots of factors, including our age, environment, health and whether we carry any risk genes. While these genes might tip the balance towards dementia, they don’t mean someone will definitely develop the condition because there are many other important factors at play.

Only in rare cases does a family carry a faulty gene that causes a disease like Alzheimer’s to be passed down from parent to child.


Research is making real progress

Medical research has already changed the lives of so many people affected by diseases like cancer. It has delivered vaccines to protect millions of people across the world from the COVID-19 pandemic. Alzheimer’s Research UK is here to make sure research delivers the same breakthroughs for everyone affected by dementia.

Researchers are making hundreds of important discoveries every year. Each one is contributing to our understanding of the diseases that cause dementia and the steps we can take to reduce our risk. These discoveries are paving the way for new methods of diagnosing, preventing and treating dementia. There are now more than 240 trials testing potential new treatments taking place across the globe.

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"Once a keen runner, my dad’s walking became more unsteady after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. 45 years after I last ran, I followed in his footsteps and now run regularly to help keep my brain healthy."


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