Newham GP and CCG chairman Dr Zuhair Zarifa explains the reality of dementia


- Credit: Archant

Dementia can happen to anyone and there’s currently no cure. However, every year health professionals understand more about dementia, and develop new ways to boost the confidence and maintain the independence of people with dementia for as long as possible.

With dementia it is important to diagnose people early so that they can live a full active life for as long as possible.

• Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain

Dementia is the name for a collection of symptoms that include memory loss, mood changes and problems with communication and reasoning. These symptoms are brought about by a number of diseases that cause changes in the brain. The most common of these is Alzheimer’s disease.

• Dementia is not a natural part of ageing

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Dementia is more common among people who are over 65, and some of us do become more forgetful as we get older. But dementia is a different sort of forgetfulness.

Your memory loss will be more noticeable, and may be accompanied by mood changes and confusion. It is important to ask your doctor to check out any unusual symptoms.

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• It’s not just about losing your memory

People often think of dementia as a form of memory loss. But it’s more than that: it can also affect the way people think, speak and do things. Dementia makes it difficult to plan and learn new activities, and interferes with structured tasks like writing. It can also make it harder to communicate.

• It’s possible to live well with dementia

It can be very surprising to learn that many people with dementia continue to drive, socialise and hold down satisfying jobs. Even as dementia progresses, many people lead active, healthy lives, continue their hobbies, and enjoy loving relationships.

If are worried about your memory or the memory of a loved one, talk to your GP. More from Dr Zarifa

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