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Understanding and Treating Different Types of Dementia

Medically reviewed by

Written by SHARATH V S

Dementia encompasses a range of conditions that lead to a decline in abilities. This decline impedes an individual's capacity to think, remember, and reason making it challenging for them to carry out tasks without assistance.

The effects of dementia extend beyond the individuals themselves. Impact their families, communities, and society as a whole. These effects manifest in ways such, as physical, emotional, financial, and ethical challenges.

Scroll down to understand the types of Dementia and what treatments are available.

Types of Dementia

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's is one of the most common types of dementia, accounting for more than 60% -70% of all cases. One of the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s is memory lapse from recent events. These symptoms are often accompanied by anxiety, confusion, and agitation.

As the disease progresses into the later stage the symptoms become more severe and the person may manifest increased difficulty in walking, communicating, eating, and may even become violent.

Vascular Dementia

Vascular Dementia also known as multi-infarct dementia is another form of dementia induced by progressive loss of brain function caused by reduced flow of blood to the brain over a long period of time, typically due to a series of strokes that block an artery in your brain.

Symptoms of this disease vary depending on which region of the brain is damaged. However, the most common symptoms are speed of thinking and problem-solving.

Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy Body Dementia is a neurological condition that brings unpredictable changes in one’s thinking and visual perception. The condition causes a decline in mental ability that gets worse over time.  Characterized by the protein deposits buildup in the brain known as Lewy body, the condition poses a distinctive set of difficulties, for both individuals and their families.

Some of the common symptoms include difficulties with movement, trouble with sleep, cognitive problems, depression, and poor regulation of body functions.

Frontotemporal Dementia

Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) is an illness that influences how someone behaves and communicates. It falls under the category of dementia and specifically affects the temporal regions of the brain.

FTD is considered a rare disease and when compared to other forms of dementia it primarily affects individuals at a younger age. Over 60% of reported FTD cases occur in individuals aged between 45 and 64. Symptoms of FTD include behavior change, language problems, problems with mental abilities, and memory loss.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson's Disease is a class of dementia caused by the gradual loss of an important chemical called dopamine and by the buildup of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. The Substantia nigra is part of the brain that produces dopamine and as we age the cells in the Substantia nigra die, this process happens at a very slow rate. 

However, in some cases, the process happens at a faster rate thus the start of Parkinson’s disease. Some of the common symptoms are tremors, slow movement, rigid muscles, loss of movement, and speech and writing changes.

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus or NPH is a condition where fluid called cerebrospinal Fluid buildup abnormally in the brain’s cavity (ventricles), causing the ventricles to enlarge, however, the pressure within the skull remains somewhat in normal range. Though NPH can happen to anyone at any age, however, it is commonly seen in elderly people. 

Some of the symptoms of NPH are memory loss, mobility issues, and bladder woes.

Huntington’s Disease

This disease is a rare disease that causes a breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. The disease can occur at any age, however, it generally starts when one reaches in their 30s and 40s.  

The symptoms of Huntington’s disease may vary from person to person, but a few general symptoms may include cognitive, movement, dystonia, impaired posture, and balance.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease or CJD is a rare disease that impacts the brain and leads to dementia. CJD belongs to a disease known as Prion disorder which can affect both humans and animals.

A person suffering from CJD develops symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer’s, however, CJD is considered among the most fatal neurological disorders. Some of the most common symptoms of this disease include personality change, memory loss, insomnia, blurry vision, etc.


Hydrocephalus is quite similar to Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) wherein cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) gets accumulated in the ventricles of the brain. Hydrocephalus occurs when there is an imbalance between the amount of CSF produced and absorbed.

Unlike NPH, Hydrocephalus augments pressure on the brain. The symptoms of hydrocephalus are headache, nausea, vomiting, cognitive difficulties, blurred vision, etc. 

Mixed Dementia

As the name suggests, Mixed Dementia is a condition wherein a person has more than one form of Dementia. While mixed dementia can result from any combination of types of dementia, the most common pairing involves Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.

Symptoms of Mixed Dementia include personality-mood change, memory issues, difficulty with daily tasks, difficulty finding the right words, etc.

Symptoms of Dementia

Symptoms of dementia may vary by person and the type of disease they have. However, common symptoms can be broadly categorized into cognitive changes and emotional/ psychological changes. Below are some of the examples of both categories.

Cognitive Symptoms

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty in communication & finding words
  • Problems with visual/ spatial ability
  • Issues with problem-solving skills & reasoning
  • Issues with complex tasks
  • Trouble with planning/ organizing
  • Confusion
  • Problem with movements

Emotional and Psychological Changes

How is Dementia Diagnosed?

Various medical intervention aids are used in diagnosing dementia. Some of them are:-

  • Cognitive and neurological tests evaluate memory, problem-solving, sensory response, balance, and reflexes.
  • Brain scans identify brain function changes, tumors, and strokes linked to dementia. 
  • Psychiatric evaluations identify mental conditions, including depression, and assess their role in dementia. 
  • Genetic tests recommended by doctors identify altered genes and genetic variations that may increase dementia risk. 
  • Cerebrospinal fluid tests measure protein levels to detect Alzheimer's and other dementia forms. 
  • Blood Tests: Blood tests alone can't diagnose dementia but considering other tests, it may help assess cognitive and rule out other potential causes of symptoms.

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When to see a Doctor?

While there is no cure for dementia, nevertheless early diagnosis can help you manage symptoms and improve the quality of your life. So, here is a reminder of when to consult a doctor.

  • Frequent memory slips impacting daily life:
  • Struggling with daily tasks such as cooking
  • Language woes such as the use of wrong words, or having trouble following conversations.
  • Getting lost in familiar places, forgetting dates, or having problems with decision-making.
  • Experiencing constant depression, anxiety, or irritability.
  • Experiencing loss of balance or coordination.

Current Dementia Treatments

As mentioned above dementia has no cure, treatments can help you manage the symptoms and improve the quality of your life. Some of the treatments include:-

  • Medication to boost brain chemicals and stabilize symptoms.
  • Cognitive stimulation boosts and keeps mental skills sharp.
  • Lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet, exercise, and sleep to support brain health
  • Therapies such as music, art, or pet therapies for emotional well-being.

Emerging Treatments and Research For Dementia

Indeed, there are little to no cures for dementia, but the future looks promising with many emerging treatments showing positive responses in dealing with the disease. For example, a treatment called lecanemab shown to moderately slow down cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s. Gene therapy is another treatment that targets the underlying genetics of Alzheimer’s. The use of Stem cells, and stimulation techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) are also under trial.

There are many potential treatments under clinical trials involving drugs that target proteins such as beta-amyloid and tau protein which are responsible for dementia.

Dementia Care and Treatment at Cadabams

Dementia’s Journey can be challenging, but at Cadabams we walk beside you. We offer comprehensive care, incorporating medical expertise with essential support for both patients and caregivers. At Cadabams take pride in our team of expert physicians, therapists, and nurses who meticulously customize care plans. We incorporate the benefits of medications, cognitive therapies, and physical activities to maximize well-being for each individual. 

Finally, we understand that day-to-day life can be challenging with dementia, so we have created a safe and comfortable environment to assist individuals with their routines. Additionally, we offer a sanctuary of counseling and support groups to ensure that nobody faces the struggles of dementia alone.

Book screening with our director of triage,  Kamlesh Verma
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1. Why is it important to understand different types of dementia?

Understanding different types of dementia is crucial for accurate diagnosis and tailored care. Each type has unique characteristics, progression, and treatment approaches. Proper identification allows for early intervention, appropriate support, and improved quality of life for individuals affected by dementia and their families.

2. What is the basic understanding of dementia?

Dementia refers to a group of progressive brain disorders that impact memory, cognitive abilities, and daily functioning. It affects thinking, behavior, and the capacity to carry out tasks. Although Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia, but there are several other types that exhibit unique characteristics.

3. What is the first line of treatment for dementia patients?

The first line of treatment for dementia involves non-pharmacological approaches like cognitive stimulation, behavioral intervention, and lifestyle modification such as regular exercise, healthy diet, etc.

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