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Early diagnosis of dementia means early access to support, information and possibly medicines.

Early diagnosis of dementia means early access to support, information and possibly medicines.
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Dementia – an overview

Dementia is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, their behaviour and their ability to perform everyday tasks.

Over a period of months or years, most people with dementia gradually:

  • lose their memory – at first for recent events, and later for events further back in their lives
  • have a personality change
  • lose interest in life
  • withdraw from their usual activities
  • lose their ability to care for themselves and for others around them.

Dementia is an umbrella term that describes a collection of symptoms, not one specific disease.

There are more than 100 diseases that may cause dementia. The most common and well known is Alzheimer’s disease. Other forms of dementia include Lewy Body disease, vascular dementia, younger onset dementia and frontotemporal dementia

Dementia is more common in older people, although it can develop in people in their 40s or 50s. Dementia is not a normal part of ageing - most older people do not have dementia.

If you notice signs or symptoms of what may be dementia in yourself, or in a family member or friend, then it’s important to see a doctor.

If you or your family member or friend is diagnosed with dementia, then early diagnosis means early access to support, information and possibly medicines.

Also, there are other conditions, which may be treatable, that produce similar signs and symptoms to dementia. Delaying seeing a doctor may delay effective treatment.

Most cases of dementia are not inherited, although it depends on the cause. If you are worried about your risk of inheriting dementia, you can talk to your doctor or call Alzheimer’s Australia on 1800 100 500 and speak to a counsellor.

Expert advice - what is dementia?

Dementia gradually gets worse over time and is more common in older people. Learn more from an expert about how to recognise dementia.


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Last reviewed: November 2016

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Alzheimer's Australia | What is dementia?

Information The information in this section defines dementia, describes the symptoms and causes of dementia and explains the difference between normal memory problems and dementia. What is dementia? Dementia describes a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. It is not one specific disease. Dementia affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Brain function is affected enough to interfere with the persons normal social or working life.

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Help Sheets A series of help sheets about various dementia topics have been developed to inform Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about dementia. What is dementia? Diagnosing dementia

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Information The information in this section defines dementia, describes the symptoms and causes of dementia and explains the difference between normal memory problems and dementia. What is dementia? What is younger onset dementia?

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Alzheimer's Australia | Serbian

Translated information Advice, common sense tips and strategies on the most common issues. These information resources are PDF files which can be read online, or downloaded and printed. Help Sheets About dementia What is dementia?

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Translated information Advice, common sense tips and strategies on the most common issues. These information resources are PDF files which can be read online, or downloaded and printed. Help Sheets About dementia What is dementia?

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Translated information Advice, common sense tips and strategies on the most common issues. These information resources PDF files which can be read online, or downloaded and printed. Help Sheets About dementia What is dementia?

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Translated information Advice, common sense tips and strategies on the most common issues. These information resources PDF files which can be read online, or downloaded and printed. Help Sheets About dementia What is dementia?

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Translated information Advice, common sense tips and strategies on the most common issues. These information resources are PDF files which can be read online, or downloaded and printed. Help Sheets About dementia What is dementia?

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Translated information Advice, common sense tips and strategies on the most common issues. These information resources are PDF files which can be read online, or downloaded and printed. Help Sheets About dementia 01 What is dementia?

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