01 What is dementia?

Understanding dementia

Dementia is a general term referring to a collection of conditions which affect the cognitive functions in the brain. There are over 100 different types of dementia and each type has its own causes, symptoms and stages. But all types have similar effects on brain cells.

The brain is constructed of nerve cells called neurones, which are responsible for transferring information across the brain and around the body. All types of dementia damage the nerve cells, which means the nerve cells are unable to communicate with one another, and information is not transferred around the brain and body. This causes various behavioural and physical changes such as speech, mobility, memory, thought processing and emotion.

Medical professionals have described the human brain as one of the most intricate phenomena in our bodies and in our entire universe. With this in mind, every individual will experience dementia in their own way. But you’re not alone. Over 850,000 people are currently living with dementia in the UK and this figure predicted to exceed 2,000,000 by 2050. With a support network in the millions, it is absolutely possible to live well with dementia.

In this guide, you’ll find information about the types of dementia, symptoms and stages of different types of dementia, treatments and other useful resources as well as tips, advice and guidance to help you and your loved one live well with dementia.

In the next sections, we will explore the different types of dementia from the most commonly diagnosed to the rarer types, dementia-related conditions and the effects of age on dementia.