Types of Dementia

Author: Nicholas Sutedja   Date Posted:1 August 2019 

Types of Dementia main image Types of Dementia image

When people think of dementia they usually associate symptoms such as memory loss and old age. However did you know that there are other types of dementia?

That’s because dementia is the umbrella term for a number of neurological conditions and it’s actually been noted in people for hundreds of years.

Let’s take a look at the different types of dementia that we know of:

Alzheimer’s disease

This is the most common form of dementia with up to 70% of all people with dementia affected with this. The biggest risk factor is age with 3 in 10 people over 85 having Alzheimer’s disease.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include memory loss, loss of enthusiasm for activities that they used to enjoy, routine tasks taking longer, social skills deteriorating and unpredictable emotions.

Vascular dementia

The second most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. This is associated with problems of circulation of blood to the brain.

There are two types of vascular dementia. The first one, and most common, is multi-infarct dementia which is caused by a number of strokes often with symptoms that develop progressively over time. Symptoms may include mood swings and epilepsy.

The second one is known as Binswanger’s disease (aka Subcortical vascular dementia) which is thought to be rare, but is currently being reassessed. Much like the first one it is associated with stroke-related changes and is also associated with high blood pressure, thickening of the arteries and inadequate blood flow.

Lewy Body Disease

Caused by the degeneration of nerve cells in the brain it shares many similarities with Alzheimer’s disease.

Presently there is no known cause of Lewy Body disease nor any risk factors associated or if it’s an inherited disease.

Symptoms include difficulty with concentration and attention, confusion and judging distances. It is also important to note that there are three cardinal symptom, two of which must be present in order to be diagnosed with this form. Visual hallucinations, parkinsonism, which is similar to Parkinson’s disease in terms of tremors and stiffness; and fluctuating mental state.

Frontotemporal dementia

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a form of dementia that occurs due to damage in the frontal and/or temporal lobes of the brain.

This results in changes in the person’s behaviour, habits and personality making symptoms vary from person to person depending on which areas of the frontal lobes are affected.

Common symptoms includes fixed mood and behaviour, loss of empathy, distractibility and impulsiveness as well as difficulty in reasoning, judgement, organisation and planning.

Alcohol related dementia

As its name suggests this is the result of excessive drinking of alcohol which affects memory, learning and other mental functions.

However it is unclear as to whether alcohol has a direct impact on the brain cells or if it’s due to other factors associated with consistent or episodic heavy use of alcohol.

Symptoms includes impaired ability to learn new things, personality changes, memory problems and balance, difficulty with tasks related to thinking and logical and decreased initiative and spontaneity.

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