Dementia is not a disease in itself. Dementia is a word used to describe a group of symptoms that occur when brain cells stop working properly.
This happens inside specific areas of the brain, which can affect how you think, remember and communicate.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but there are other types of dementia too. It is possible to have more than one type of dementia at the same time. Alzheimer’s is sometimes seen with vascular dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies. You might hear this called ‘mixed dementia’.
On these pages you will find information about the most common forms of dementia, including symptoms, diagnosis and treatments. This is not intended to replace the advice of doctors, pharmacists or nurses, but provides some background information which we hope you will find helpful.
Alzheimer’s is a disease that causes dementia. It is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for about two-thirds of cases in older people.
Although often thought of as a disease of older people, around 5% of people with Alzheimer’s disease are under 65.
Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.
Frontotemporal dementia or FTD (sometimes called Pick’s disease) is a relatively rare form of dementia.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a term used to describe early memory and thinking problems in older people. It is not a type of dementia.
Posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) is a rare form of dementia that usually begins by affecting a person’s vision. It is also known as Benson’s syndrome.
Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a condition caused by damage to parts of the brain that control our personality, emotions, language and behaviour.
There are several rarer conditions that can lead to dementia or dementia-like problems. Around 35,000 people in the UK are thought to be affected by these rarer causes of dementia.