Dementia is a general term for confusion or cognitive impairment. Cognitive impairment is when a person has trouble thinking, remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life.

Dementia includes at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Memory loss
  • Language problems such as word finding difficulties
  • Impaired visual perception and recognition
  • Difficulty with skilled motor tasks
  • Impaired judgment and reasoning
  • Loss of motivation, planning ability, and organizational skills
  • Problems with calculations
  • Behavioral problems, including suspiciousness, paranoia, and agitation
  • Dementia is caused by or exacerbated by a number of different disorders:
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders
  • Lewy body dementia
  • Frontotemporal dementia (including Pick's disease)
  • Many additional lesser known neurodegenerative diseases
  • Strokes (vascular dementia)
  • Depression
  • Medication side effects
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Alcohol and other toxic conditions
  • Kidney, liver, cardiac, or respiratory failure
  • Subdural hematomas
  • Tumors
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Prion diseases (Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease)
  • Infectious diseases

It is usually necessary for an individual with symptoms of dementia to undergo a detailed examination. The exam includes:

  • Neurological exam
  • Paper and pencil tests of memory and thinking abilities
  • Brain scan (CT or MRI)
  • Blood tests

Before a diagnosis can be made, this exam must be completed.

The three most common types of dementia are listed below. Click on one or all of them to learn more about a specific type of dementia.

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Frontotemporal Dementia
  • Lewy Body Dementia

Learn More About…

Alzheimer’s Disease (Alzheimer’s)

Read About Alzheimer’s

Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)

Read About FTD

Lewy Body Disease

Read About LBD