Dementia is difficult to prevent because what causes it often is not known. However, people who have vascular dementia may be able to prevent future declines by lowering their risk of heart disease and stroke.
Certain problems can be warning signs of dementia. Talk to a doctor if you, a friend, or a family member has been having increased difficulty with any of the following activities: Learning and retaining new information (forgetting recent events and appointments or frequently misplacing objects)Handling complex tasks, like balancing a checkbookKnowing what to do when problems come up (such as knowing what to do if the bathroom is flooded) and using good judgment (for example, showing a new disregard for the rules of social conduct and doing or saying things that are inappropriate)Finding his or her way around familiar places, driving to and from places he or she knows well (for example, getting lost when walking or driving from the house to the store a few blocks away)Finding the right words to say what he or she wants to sayUnderstanding and responding to what he or she sees and hearsActing more irritable or suspicious than usual, or withdrawing from conversation and activityA person
Doctors diagnose the cause of dementia by asking questions about the person's medical history and doing a physical exam, a mental status exam, and lab and imaging tests. Tests can help the doctor learn whether dementia is caused by a treatable condition.