#WorldAlzheimersDay: Five common misconceptions about Alzheimer’s busted

On World Alzheimer’s Day, the Alzheimer’s Society (UK) puts five common misconceptions about the disease to rest



Dementia describes a group of symptoms that include a decline in memory and cognitive abilities. There are a number of conditions labelled as dementias, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s disease.

Dementia just affects your memory

When people think of the word dementia, then tend to also think of memory problems, but it’s not true that it only affects memory. While dementia often begins by affecting short-term memory, it can also affect people’s concentration, the way they speak, how they feel and the way they behave.

Dementia is a natural part of growing old

This is not the case; dementia doesn’t care how old you are. In the UK there are more than 40,000 people under the age of 65 living with dementia, known as young-onset dementia.

We’ve all forgotten where we’ve put our phone or keys from time to time and though this does tend to happen more often as we get older, dementia is not a natural part of ageing.

Alzheimer’s disease is the only type of dementia

Alzheimer’s is just one of the various diseases that cause dementia, affecting 62% of people diagnosed. Alzheimer’s disease causes nerve cells to die, damaging the tissue and chemistry of the brain.

No two types of dementia are the same and different types can cause damage to different parts of the brain.

Other forms of dementia include vascular dementia, the second most comment type of dementia which is caused by problems with blood flow. There’s also dementia with Lewy bodies, which occurs when tiny deposits of a protein (alpha-synuclein) appear in nerve cells in the brain and frontotemporal dementia, one of the less common types of dementia, which causes damage to the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.

You can’t do anything to reduce your risk of dementia

The chance of developing dementia varies from person to person. Everyone has some risk because age is the strongest risk factor and we’re all growing older.

While some things are out of our hands, like age and genes, there are other lifestyle changes that we can make to reduce our risk of developing dementia.

Taking more exercise and making healthy lifestyle choices like eating a balanced diet, not smoking and keeping your blood pressure in check can all go a long way to help lower your risk of developing dementia.

People can’t enjoy life with dementia

Although there is still no cure for dementia, Alzheimer’s Society (UK) is investing in and accelerating dementia research so that one day we find one. Until that day comes, there are treatments and support available that can help with symptoms and managing daily life.

Likewise staying active, being included and continuing to do the things they love – whether that is visiting friends or going for a coffee – can all help to support a person with dementia to live a fulfilled and purposeful life.

Source: Sky News