Brain tour: what is dementia? 

Dementia affects over 800,000 people in the UK. It is not a disease in its own right and it is not a natural part of ageing. It is an umbrella term that describes a group of symptoms that are caused by many diseases that affect the brain for example, Alzheimer's disease.

Find out more about dementia

Transcript of Brain tour: what is dementia?

What is dementia?

Dementia affects over 750,000 people in the UK.

It is not a disease in its own right and it's not a natural part of ageing.

It's an umbrella term that describes a large group of symptoms

that are caused by diseases that affect the brain, such as Alzheimer's disease.

Dementia is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the brain.

It is a progressive condition, meaning that it gradually gets worse.

This is because when a nerve cell dies it cannot usually be replaced.

As more and more cells die, the brain starts to shrink.

This is known as brain atrophy, which can sometimes be seen

in a brain scan of someone in the later stages of dementia.

Common symptoms of dementia include memory loss, impaired cognition

and loss of physical co-ordination.

However, the symptoms depend on the area of the brain that is affected.

For example, if nerve cells in the temporal lobe start to die,

that person may start to have difficulties with their language.

Nerve cell death in the occipital lobe, at the back of the brain,

can cause problems with vision.

Sadly, there is currently no cure for dementia

and many of the diseases that cause it are terminal.

The cerebellum and brain stem control our basic life functions.

If cells die in these areas the body will start to shut down.

Alzheimer's Society

alzheimers.org.uk/braintour

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