Dementia - Overview

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What Is Dementia?

Dementia is a general term for neurological illnesses that impair one’s cognitive abilities, such as remembering, reasoning, communicating, and solving problems. It’s quite normal to occasionally forget important things, get confused, or struggle to express a thought. Dementia is much more severe than that—severe enough to impact the patient’s daily life, behaviour, personality, and independence.


Book An Appointment

Are you or your loved one showing signs of abnormal mental decline? Schedule an appointment with a neuropsychologist or geriatric psychiatrist in our London clinic today for a professional dementia assessment. While dementia is not reversible, an early diagnosis is key to preventing further cognitive decline. Based on the assessment results, we’ll tailor an effective dementia treatment to help manage dementia symptoms.

Is Dementia Part of Normal Ageing?

Although there’s a lot of “evidence” linking dementia to old age, dementia is not part of ageing.

As of 2021, 944,000 people were living with dementia in the UK— a number that could reach 1.6 million by 2050. Approximately 1 in 11 people in the UK over the age of 65 have dementia. But the disease affects young people too. In the UK alone, over 70,800 people under 65 years have dementia (young-onset dementia).

Dementia seems more prevalent among the older population for two main reasons. One, the likelihood of developing dementia, much like many other illnesses, increases with age. Two, research bias; more dementia studies have focused on the elderly than the younger generations.

Our medical understanding of dementia has come a long way over the last century or so. Today, we know dementia as a medically manageable mental illness that affects both the old and young. Even the social stigma surrounding the disease has gradually diluted over the years.

The Seven Stages of Dementia

Dementia is the progressive decline of cognitive function, meaning that the symptoms worsen with time. The progression generally follows three phases:

  • Early-stage dementia (pre-dementia)

  • Middle-stage dementia (moderate)

  • Late-stage dementia (severe)

These are further broken down into seven more distinct stages based on the Global Deterioration Scale.

No cognitive impairment.

The first stage of dementia is generally asymptomatic and, hence, difficult to diagnose.

Very mild cognitive impairment.

The patient starts to lose the ability to track objects and recall the names of family members and friends.

Mild cognitive decline.

Memory loss, retention, concentration, and learning problems become more regular and noticeable.

Moderate cognitive decline.

The patient shows clear signs of cognitive decline. They may also start exhibiting social withdrawal, behavioural changes, mood swings, irresponsiveness, and reduced intellectual sharpness.

Severe cognitive decline.

At stage-6 dementia, the patient requires a caregiver to perform nearly every activity. They may also have trouble sleeping, controlling bodily functions, and recognising familiar faces.

Very severe cognitive decline.

The patient becomes severely impaired, both mentally and physically. Late-stage dementia causes disruptions in normal body functions, often leaving the patient bedridden or even under intensive care.


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