Dispelling These Common Myths About Dementia

Dementia can affect every aspect of a person’s life and can significantly impact those around them. Characterized by memory loss, issues with problem solving, changes in thinking, and changes in personality, dementia affects each person differently.

Receiving a dementia diagnosis can seem frightening, but with the right support, people can live with dementia for as long as possible. Common misconceptions about dementia can stand in the way of helping people living with this condition.

We’ve gathered some information to dispel some of the most common myths surrounding dementia to raise awareness and help those with loved ones affected by dementia to better understand the conditions.

Myth #1: Dementia and Alzheimer’s are the same

The terms dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are sometimes used interchangeably, leading to a misconception that they’re the same. But dementia is an umbrella term for a group of symptoms that affect memory, thinking, and reasoning. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.

Myth #2: Dementia is a normal part of aging

While many people tend to think of memory loss as a part of getting older, it’s important to know that dementia is not a part of normal aging. It’s caused by damage or loss of nerve cells, which affects communication between brain cells. People with dementia have symptoms that are severe enough to interfere with daily functioning. 

Myth #3: Only older adults get dementia

There’s a common misconception that dementia only affects elderly adults. While it is less common, early-onset dementia can occur between the ages of 30 to 65. People with early onset dementia are likely to experience subtle changes in short-term memory, have trouble finding the right words, and experience a subtle shift in their ability to complete normal tasks.

Myth #4: Dementia can’t be prevented

You can take steps to protect your cognitive health and prevent dementia. Adopting a healthy lifestyle with habits such as regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and keeping your blood pressure within a healthy range can help ward off dementia. 

What you don’t do is just as important. Avoiding smoking and avoiding excess alcohol is also protective against dementia.

Myth #5: Dementia is purely genetic

Many people mistakenly believe that if a close relative develops dementia that they will too. Most cases of dementia do not have a strong genetic link. Therefore, having a family history of dementia does not mean you will automatically develop dementia.

However, there is a genetic component to some forms of dementia. Genetics appears to influence early-onset dementia, which is a rare form of dementia. Still, having a parent or grandparent who develops dementia before age 65 still does not make dementia inevitable for you.

Myth #6: Dementia can be cured

Dementia is a progressive brain disease that in most cases cannot be cured. Still, living with dementia does not signify the end of a meaningful life. Remaining physically active, engaging in stimulating activities and maintaining social connections are good for the overall health of people with dementia.

Myth #7: People with dementia are unaware of their condition

It’s a common misconception that people with dementia are unaware of what’s going on around them. Most people with dementia are aware, although the brain damage that leads to dementia can interfere with a person’s ability to communicate their thoughts and feelings.

Anyone with a dementia diagnosis should form a strong partnership with a neurology specialist. At Premier Neurology Group, our neurologist, Dr. Ravinder Singh, possesses decades of experience in evaluating and treating a full range of conditions that affect the nervous system, including dementia. 

If you or a loved one has symptoms of dementia or has received a dementia diagnosis, schedule an appointment with Dr. Singh at our office in Beverly Hills, California, to discuss getting the best care.

Call our office or use our convenient online booking form to schedule your visit.

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