Setting the Record Straight: Debunk Myths about Dementia
3 min read Let’s debunk some myths about memory loss and cognitive impairment. Choose whether you think each statement is a fact or a myth, and then check your answer below.
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debunk myths about dementia
3 min read

Let’s debunk some common myths about dementia, memory loss, and cognitive impairment. Choose whether you think each statement is a fact or a myth, and then check your answer below.

Fact or Myth? 

Because someone in my family has dementia, I am definitely going to get it too.


That’s a myth: For most people, family genetics do not cause dementia. While genetics do play a role in the development of some forms of dementia like young onset Alzheimer’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the majority of people living with dementia do not have a strong or known genetic link. Less than 5% of all people living with Alzheimer’s disease inherited it from a family member.


Fact or Myth?

Some cognitive impairment is a natural part of aging.


That’s a fact: Everyone becomes less mentally and physically agile as they age. A small amount of cognitive impairment is expected. However, if an individual starts to struggle with their day-to-day activities, or show changes that are obvious to themselves or the people around them, this is not considered normal. You can read more about the differences between normal aging and cognitive impairment here.

Dementia is common in the aging population, but it is not a normal or natural part of aging. This is why it’s best to seek diagnosis and treatment as soon as you recognize any signs of memory loss or cognitive impairment.


Fact or Myth?

Dementia is usually diagnosed shortly after the onset of symptoms.

That’s a myth: Dementia-causing disease can be present as much as 20 years before symptoms of dementia begin to occur. The first signs of disease are often very mild forms of impairment in learning or memory and may be too subtle to cause concern. This is why it is important to start with lifestyle changes as early as possible to slow down or even avoid the onset of dementia.


Fact or Myth?

Dementia-like symptoms are never reversible.


That’s a myth: Memory loss and other problems with thinking aren’t always caused by Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Sometimes there’s another cause, such as depression or another psychiatric disorder, medication side effects, alcohol or cannabis use, thyroid disease or another medical disorder, or vitamin deficiency. So, if your loved one is having problems with thinking and memory, they should see a doctor to rule out issues that can be treated and even eliminated.


Fact or Myth?

There are different types of dementia.


That’s a fact: There are many different types of dementia, though some are more common than others. Some common types of dementia include:

Alzheimer’s dementia (AD): This is the most common and most well-known cause of dementia. It is a progressive disease that slowly changes the chemistry and structure of the brain, leading to the death of brain cells. Becoming confused and forgetful and experiencing mood swings are common with AD.

Parkinson’s dementia: Though Parkinson’s disease first affects the region of the brain that is key to movement, it eventually spreads and can begin to affect mental abilities. Parkinson’s dementia affects memory, attention-span and judgment, and can look a lot like AD.

Vascular dementia: This type of dementia occurs when the oxygen supply to the brain is cut off due to a stroke or a series of mini-strokes. It is a common form of dementia and can cause problems with speed of thinking, concentrating and ability to complete tasks.

Lewy Body dementia: This type of dementia gets its name from protein aggregates that develop inside the nerve cell and cause damage to tissues. With Lewy body dementia, attention and alertness problems are common, as are hallucinations.

Frontotemporal dementia: This dementia is caused by damage to the front part of the brain. It can affect personality and lead to behavioral changes and eventually memory problems.


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