Facts about dementia

  • In Nottingham City there over 2,500 people predicted to have dementia, however only one third of people with dementia have a formal diagnosis
  • Dementia mainly affects older people. However, it can affect younger people: there are about 55 people in Nottingham under the age of 65 who have dementia
  • Dementia can affect both men and women

What is dementia?

‘Dementia’ is a term used to describe a number of illnesses where there is a progressive decline in multiple areas of function, these include Alzheimers disease, vascular disease, dementia with lewy bodies and fronto-temporal disease.

Symptoms of dementia include:

  • Loss of memory − for example, forgetting the way home from the shops, or being unable to remember names and places, or what happened earlier the same day
  • Mood changes
  • Communication problems − a decline in the ability to talk, read and write
  • Decline in reasoning

Individuals may also develop behavioural and psychological symptoms such as depression, aggression, psychosis and wandering.

In the later stages of dementia, the person affected will have problems carrying out everyday tasks, and will become increasingly dependent on other people.

Most forms of dementia cannot be cured, although research is continuing into developing drugs, vaccines and treatments. Drugs have been developed that can temporarily alleviate some of the symptoms of some types of dementia. These drugs are known as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors.

If you are worried about yourself, or someone close to you, talk to your GP. It is very important to get a proper diagnosis. Having a diagnosis may mean it is possible to be prescribed drugs to slow down the symptoms. Diagnosis can also help you prepare and plan for the future.

What can I do to reduce the risk of developing dementia?

Have a balanced diet
A healthy and balanced diet that enables a person to maintain a normal body weight is likely to reduce the likelihood of developing high blood pressure or heart disease, both of which put a person at greater risk of developing dementia.

Try to stop smoking
Smoking has an extremely harmful effect on the heart, lungs and vascular system, including the blood vessels in the brain. This increases the risk of developing vascular dementia

Drink alcohol in moderation
People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol over a long period of time increase their risk of developing a form of dementia.  However, some research has suggested that moderate amounts of red wine, which contains antioxidants, might help to protect the brain against dementia and keep the heart and vascular system healthy

Stay active
Regular physical exercise helps to keep the heart and vascular system healthy. This helps to reduce a person's risk of developing vascular dementia, which is caused by problems with the circulation of blood to and around the brain.

The National Dementia Strategy

'Living Well with Dementia: A National Dementia Strategy' was published in 2009 and said that services for people with dementia needed to improve. In Nottingham City, a lot of work has already taken place and further work is underway to improve services for people with dementia. 

The local strategy is now available to download here: Living a full life with dementia: A dementia strategy for Nottingham

Further information and support for people with dementia: