Dementia refers to a significant loss of memory and cognitive ability. It is not a disease itself, but is a category of medical conditions. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for up to 80% of all cases. Other common types or causes of dementia include:

  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Mixed dementia
  • Vascular dementia
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus
  • Posterior cortical atrophy
  • Korsakoff syndrome

Dementia is also linked with other conditions that cause physical changes in the brain, such as Down syndrome or Parkinson’s disease.

Signs and symptoms of dementia can vary significantly, but they often involve forgetfulness while performing routine daily tasks, difficulty thinking, and changes in personality, behaviors, and interests. These symptoms are progressive, meaning that they become worse over time. Some cases of dementia may be more responsive to treatment than others, depending on the underlying cause. However, in all cases, early detection is key for positive outcomes.


How is dementia diagnosed?

Dementia can be difficult to detect because a variety of different factors can cause it. There is no singular test for diagnosing dementia; instead, your doctor will base their diagnosis on a review of your medical history, laboratory tests to rule out certain contributing factors, and observations of changes in your mental functions over time. Additionally, your doctor may be able to diagnose you with dementia, but not a particular type; further treatment could then require follow-up care from a relevant specialist.

How is dementia treated?

Treatment for dementia depends on the underlying factors causing it. Most types of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, cannot be cured; however, symptoms can be managed, and in some cases even reduced or reversed, through medication. Your doctor may also work with you to develop coping skills that can help you work through your symptoms, as well as with your family to help them learn how to support you best.

The onset of dementia can be frightening for you and your loved ones, but it’s important to remember that resources for advanced medical care and support are available to help you slow the progression of this disease as much as possible. The multidisciplinary team at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Division of Neurology includes specialists with experience treating dementia, who are ready and fully qualified to help you reduce the impact of this disease on your life and your loved ones. To schedule an appointment with a New York dementia specialist, please email