Many of us notice that our memory gets worse as we get older. It can be difficult to tell whether this is a sign of an underlying condition like dementia.
The term 'dementia' describes a set of symptoms which includes loss of memory, mood changes and problems with communication and reasoning. These symptoms occur when the brain is damaged by certain diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and damage caused by a series of small strokes. Symptoms of dementia may include:
- Loss of memory. This particularly affects short-term memory, like forgetting what happened earlier in the day, not being able to recall conversations, being repetitive or forgetting the way home. Long-term memory is usually still quite good
- Mood changes. People with dementia may be withdrawn, sad, frightened or angry about what is happening to them
- Communication problems. These include difficulty in finding the right words for things, for example describing the function of an item instead of naming it
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