10 treatable causes of dementia—and how to recognize them before it’s too late

Not all dementia is Alzheimer’s

While little memory slips are normal, when forgetfulness begins to interfere with everyday life, or symptoms pop up suddenly, it might be time to see a doctor. There are ways to improve your recall. But dementia is shockingly common: It affects more than 47.5 million people worldwide. Dementia is not a disease in itself—it’s a blanket term (like cancer) for a variety of different types of mental impairments.

Most dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia (mini strokes), Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is irreversible: treatable, but not curable. But research suggests that as many as one in five cases of dementia are triggered by treatable conditions. “Dementia as a diagnosis is not the same as exhibiting a cognitive impairment that mimics dementia,” explains Kevin James, founder of Dementia.org. “Sometimes certain conditions can cause people to exhibit dementia-like symptoms, and in many cases, these conditions can be treated and the symptoms can be reversed.” Here’s how to tell whether your memory loss will be Alzheimer’s.

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