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Dementia is a set of symptoms caused by damage to the brain from certain diseases or conditions. Symptoms can include problems with memory loss, thinking, mental agility, language and understanding. Dementia is common – around 90,000 people in Scotland are living with the condition and the risk of it developing increases as you get older.

Types of Dementia

There are many different types of dementia although some are more common than others.  

  • Alzheimer’s disease is a disease that causes the loss of brain cells, leading to dementia. It is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for around two thirds of cases.
  • Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of dementia. It occurs when the blood supply to the brain is impaired.
  • Dementia with Lewy Bodies accounts for around 10% of cases of dementia. Lewy bodies are tiny deposits of protein that can build up in the cells of the brain and are associated with damage and loss of function. 
  • Frontotemporal dementia is a less common type of dementia. Frontotemporal dementia is caused when nerve cells in the frontal and/or temporal lobes of the brain die, and the pathways that connect the lobes change.
  • Mixed dementia occurs when people develop more than one form of dementia, such as both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

Symptoms of Dementia

Dementia affects everyone differently and no two people will have symptoms that develop in exactly the same way. However, there are some symptoms that are common. These include:

  • Short-term memory problems – struggling to remember recent events
  • Struggling to follow conversations 
  • Forgetting the names of people you know or everyday objects
  • Leaving objects in strange places 
  • Problems with spatial awareness
  • Disorientation in time and space
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulties with planning, reasoning and organising
  • Changes in mood and behaviour
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Changes to appetite

If you are Worried about your Memory

If you are worried about your memory or think you might have dementia, it is a good idea to see your GP. Getting an early and accurate diagnosis of dementia is important so that support can be put in place and you can prepare and plan for the future.

Useful Contacts

Age Scotland’s Early Stage Dementia Project

The Early Stage Dementia project publishes free guides about early stage dementia and how to reduce the risk of dementia. It also runs free early stage dementia awareness workshops for Age Scotland member groups and offers dementia and the workplace training to employers in Scotland.

Find out more online
Telephone: 0333 32 32 400

Alzheimer Scotland

Alzheimer Scotland is the leading dementia organisation in Scotland. It campaigns for the rights of people with dementia and their families and provides an extensive range or personalised support services.

Visit their website
Freephone 24 hour Dementia Helpline: 0808 808 3000

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