Mississippi State Department of Health

Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease


Dementia is 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.

Dementia and Aging

Normal Aging

Many older adults live their entire lives without developing dementia. Normal aging may include weakening muscles and bones, stiffening of arteries and vessels, and some age-related memory changes. Occasional behaviors like the following are part of normal aging:

Older adults normally retain knowledge and experiences built over years, old memories, and language skills.

Signs and Symptoms of Dementia

The symptoms of dementia can vary widely from person to person.

People with dementia have problems with:

Signs of dementia include:

Risk Factors for Dementia

The following can increase the risk of dementia:


If someone has signs of dementia, a healthcare provider can test their health, memory and cognitive abilities to see whether there is cause for concern.

Common Types of Dementia?

Mixed dementia, involving more than one cause, is also possible.


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.

Leading a healthy lifestyle may decrease chances of developing dementia. Regular exercise, healthy eating, and maintaining social contacts may all help.

If you think someone may have dementia


Caregiving for those with dementia isn't easy. It can put the health of caregivers at risk over time from stress and the inability to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Caregivers can take steps to stay healthy and continue giving the best care they can.

Links referenced on this page
Alzheimer's disease    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/43,23973,430,html ok
More about Alzheimer's disease    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/43,23973,430,html ok
More about caregiver health    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/43,23974,430,html ok
The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer's    https://www.cdc.gov/aging/bold/
The CDC's Healthy Brain Initiative    https://www.cdc.gov/aging/healthybrain/roadmap.htm

Find this page at http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/index.cfm

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