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Warning Signs You Have Dementia, According to the CDC 

These symptoms could indicate you have dementia, CDC says.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Dementia affects an average of 55 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. The disorder is caused when damaged brain cells can't communicate with each other, which results in memory loss. People over 65 are generally affected by dementia and there are several signs according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read on to find out more about the symptoms of dementia—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


What is Dementia?

senior woman with adult daughter at home.

The CDC states, "Dementia is not a specific disease but is rather a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interferes with doing everyday activities. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. Though dementia mostly affects older adults, it is not a part of normal aging."

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How is Dementia Diagnosed


Quite often loved ones recognize the signs of dementia and encourage medical treatment. The CDC states, "A healthcare provider can perform tests on attention, memory, problem solving and other cognitive abilities to see if there is cause for concern. A physical exam, blood tests, and brain scans like a CT or MRI can help determine an underlying cause."

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Signs of Dementia

older man with dementia talking to doctor
Shutterstock / Robert Kneschke

There are several signs to be aware of and according to the CDC: trouble remembering familiar and daily tasks, problems with communicating, problem solving, difficulties with judgment and reasoning and visual perception beyond typical age-related changes in vision. Other symptoms according to the CDC include, "Getting lost in a familiar neighborhood, using unusual words to refer to familiar objects, forgetting the name of a close family member or friend, forgetting old memories and not being able to complete tasks independently."

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Who is at Risk for Dementia?

Mature woman sitting in bed at home.

While it does generally affect people 65 and older, early onset of dementia can start in your 30s, 40s and 50s. 

The CDC's website states additional risk factors. 

  • "Age
    The strongest known risk factor for dementia is increasing age, with most cases affecting those of 65 years and older
  • Family history
    Those who have parents or siblings with dementia are more likely to develop dementia themselves.
  • Race/ethnicity
    Older African Americans are twice more likely to have dementia than whites. Hispanics 1.5 times more likely to have dementia than whites.
  • Poor heart health
    High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking increase the risk of dementia if not treated properly
  • Traumatic brain injury
    Head injuries can increase the risk of dementia, especially if they are severe or occur repeatedly."

    How is Dementia Treated?

    Group seniors with dementia builds a tower in the nursing home from colorful building blocks

    One of the best things to do if you're diagnosed with dementia is to keep your mind active and stay busy, maintain a healthy diet and get plenty of sleep. 

    "Treatment of dementia depends on the underlying cause. Neurodegenerative dementias, like Alzheimer's disease, have no cure, though there are medications that can help protect the brain or manage symptoms such as anxiety or behavior changes. Research to develop more treatment options is ongoing," the CDC says. "Leading a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, healthy eating, and maintaining social contacts, decreases chances of developing chronic diseases and may reduce the number of people with dementia." And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

    Heather Newgen
    Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather