Dementia refers to a group of symptoms associated with a progressive decline of the brain and its abilities. 

Different forms of dementia include Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.  Most cases are caused by damage to the structure of the brain.  Dementia usually occurs in people aged 65 or over; the older a person becomes, the more likely they are to develop it.  In England, there are currently 570,000 people with dementia and that number is expected to double over the next 30 years.

Dementia affects a person’s memory, thinking, understanding and judgement.  Effects of dementia include changes in personality, problems controlling emotions and seeing or hearing things that other people do not.  People with dementia eventually require help to perform everyday tasks and make decisions.  Although there is no cure for dementia, there are a number of treatments.   

 

Dementia crisis:

One in three people born this year ‘will get the cruel disease’

Britain faces a dementia time bomb with one in three people born this year expected to develop the condition, research shows.

Experts warn of a ‘looming national emergency’ as the crisis threatens to send the NHS into meltdown.  The incurable illness will blight almost every family within a generation – but a new campaign will urge people to beat it through healthier lifestyles.  Disturbing figures reveal the number of people living with dementia will rocket as the population ages and life expectancy soars.

Analysis by Alzheimer’s Research UK shows 37 per cent of women and 27 per cent of men born in 2015 will develop it at some point in their lives.

It has prompted officials to embark on an unprecedented crusade to hammer home the message that healthy lifestyles can help stave off the onset of mental decline.

Experts estimate that by 2050 more than two million people in Britain will be struck down and the numbers are likely to spiral in future years as people live longer, but while scientists race to find a cure, the public will be told that regular exercise and a strict healthy diet can keep the body and mind in good condition.

Daily dose of ‘sunshine vitamin’ wards off dementia.

Dr Matthew Norton, of Alzheimer’s Research, said: “As people are living longer, more and more will develop dementia if action is not taken now to tackle the condition.

Dementia is our greatest medical challenge and if we are to beat it we must invest in research.  “If we could delay the onset of dementia by five years, we could reduce the number of people living with the condition by a third.”

Campaigners hope the statistics, revealed today on World Alzheimer’s Day, will result in more funding for dementia research.

A diagnosis of dementia if given to just to one person – it is given to a spouse, a partner, a child, the extended family and friends.

Dementia already affects 850,000 people in the UK and costs the economy £26 billion a year.

It is caused by diseases, most commonly Alzheimer’s, which result in the loss of brain cells, impairing mental function.  Symptoms include memory loss, confused thinking and speech and difficulty problem solving.  Scientists at Cardiff University studied 2,235 men aged between 45 to 59 over 35 years and found non-smokers who exercised, kept their weight down, ate healthily and drank moderately had a 60 per cent drop in dementia and cognitive decline and 70 per cent fewer instances of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Smoking is thought to be the biggest risk factor.  It reduces oxygen flow to the brain.