Belfast Telegraph

Living with dementia: Why a diagnosis is important

Your risk of developing dementia increases as you get older. A diagnosis can help people with dementia get the right treatment and support.

What is dementia?

Dementia is a term used to describe a group of conditions that affect the brain and cause a progressive decline in the ability to think, remember and learn.  Dementia is not part of normal ageing. It is estimated that 20,000 people in Northern Ireland are living with dementia and approximately 1,000 are under the age of 65 years.

The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease which accounts for approximately two thirds of all dementia cases. Other types of dementia include vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies.

Is there a cure for dementia?

There is no cure for dementia but a timely diagnosis gives the person with a dementia time to access information and support services.

It also allows access to drugs which can alleviate some of the symptoms and help slow the progression of the condition.

Treatment and support can make a big difference to day-to-day living, for example enabling someone with a dementia to stay independent longer.

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A healthy lifestyle may help delay the onset of dementia and can also help to prevent cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and heart attacks.

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If you are diagnosed with dementia, your doctor will discuss the most appropriate help and medical support for you. People can live well with dementia and a positive outlook is really important, as is support from family, friends and the wider community.

The dementia campaign #STILLME raises awareness of the signs of dementia in Northern Ireland, encouraging anyone experiencing symptoms to seek help, and reducing stigma and fear about the condition.

 

To find out more about dementia, visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/dementia

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