Alzheimer's disease and other dementias

Alzheimer’s disease affects over 400,000 people in the UK. It is a progressive physical disease affecting the brain, which means that gradually, over time, more parts of the brain are damaged and symptoms become more severe.

The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown, however it is likely that a combination of factors, including age, genetic inheritance, environmental factors, diet and overall general health, are responsible.

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, some drug treatments can reduce the symptoms or slow down progression of the disease in some people.

Dementia is the loss (usually gradual) of mental abilities such as thinking, remembering, and reasoning. It is not a disease, but a group of symptoms that may accompany some diseases or conditions affecting the brain.

Dementia usually affects older people and becomes more common with age. About six in 100 people aged over 65 and one in five aged over 80 will develop some degree of dementia.

The most common symptoms include loss of memory, confusion, and changes in personality, mood and behaviour.

Alzheimer’s disease is responsible for about 60% of all cases while vascular dementia accounts for a further 20%.