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Types of Dementia: Causes and Treatment

Types of Dementia: Causes and Treatment



What is Dementia?

Dementia constitutes a group of symptoms that show an overall cognitive decline that is characterized by issues and impairment of memory, language, judgment, and behaviour and is of a chronic or progressive nature.

The various types of dementia are caused by damage to the brain as a consequence of loss of neurons or neuronal connections. The most common cause of dementia is the destruction of cells in the brain. Even though age is considered to be a strong factor of contribution to dementia, dementia problems are not restricted to senile dementia and can also occur in younger age groups. 

Types of Dementia

Dementia isn’t a specific disease. Instead, dementia describes a group of severe symptoms affecting memory, thought, and social abilities that are enough to interfere with daily functioning. Although memory loss stems from dementia, it has different causes. So, memory loss alone doesn’t mean you have dementia. There are different types of dementia. In this article, you will learn about the most common dementia types, each of which will have different symptoms and behaviours most often associated with the disease.


Different Dementia Types & Signs of Dementia

There are many different types of dementia that have widely varying symptoms. They include:  

  • Alzheimer’s Disease: It is one of the most common types of dementia and makes up approximately 70% of all cases. One of the early symptoms of the disease is an inability to remember recent events or information. This inability to remember events and information can be frustrating to family members because they believe that the person is “not paying attention”. Sometimes this memory loss is accompanied by depression or a general lack of interest in once enjoyable activities.

    As the disease progresses, there is increasing confusion, changes in behaviour, impaired safety awareness, and increasing incidences of poor judgement. The disease can also begin to manifest itself in physical changes such as increased difficulty walking, communicating, and swallowing.
  • Vascular Dementia: It is the second most common type of dementia which typically results from decreased blood flow to parts of the brain. It may cause the individual to perform differently throughout the day – sometimes confused and sometimes lucid. This is very confusing to family members and sometimes more difficult to manage than true Alzheimer’s because of the unpredictability of the behaviour.

    Memory is usually not affected as much, but there is evidence of confusion. This type of dementia is often seen after a stroke and may continue to worsen as the individual continues to have small strokes that block arteries. Vascular dementia may also be referred to as multi-infarct dementia or labelled as vascular cognitive impairment.
  • Parkinson’s Disease: This is one of the major types of dementia. Usually, family members are so concerned about the tremors and loss of control of motor movements that characterize the disease, that they pay little attention to the more subtle cognitive changes. Dementia Parkinson’s may slow your movement, making simple tasks difficult and time-consuming. Your steps may become shorter when you walk. It may be difficult to get out of a chair, and you may drag your feet as you try to walk. As soon as Parkinson’s is diagnosed, it is advisable to have a cognitive assessment done as a baseline to track subtle changes as the disease progresses.
  • Lewy Body Dementia: Among the types of dementia, this presents very much the same symptoms as that of Alzheimer’s.  There is memory loss, changes in behaviour, and poor safety awareness. However, the individual with Lewy body dementia often has visual hallucinations, muscle tremors, and involuntary motor movements.

    They also have greater daily fluctuations in performance than those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. These fluctuations, combined with visual hallucinations and uncontrolled motor movements, often put the individual at a higher risk of injury because it is hard to anticipate performance levels from one day to the next.
  • Frontotemporal Dementia: It occurs when there is damage to the brain cells located in the front and/or sides of the brain. This type of dementia manifests itself with personality changes, impulsive (and sometimes inappropriate) behaviour, and an inability to use language effectively.

    Individuals with this type of dementia are sometimes misdiagnosed as having psychiatric problems because of the personality changes that they experience and the behaviours that they display.
  • Normal-pressure Hydrocephalus: This type of dementia can be caused by a build-up of fluid in the brain. Individuals with this type of dementia present different symptoms at different times. Sometimes they complain of dizziness and difficulty walking or maintaining balance.

    Other times, they will appear confused and lethargic. Sometimes they experience episodic memory loss. Individuals may also experience episodes of incontinence. In extreme cases, a shunt is placed to drain fluids from the brain to reduce the signs and symptoms of cognitive impairment.
  • Mixed Dementia: It can be a combination of different types of dementia, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Typically this is encountered with people who already had Alzheimer’s and then suffer a stroke or a series of small strokes. When this type of dementia occurs, it is often difficult to determine what factors are causing which symptoms.

Parkinson’s and Dementia

Yes, Parkinson’s disease is a type of dementia. It is a progressive disorder that affects changes in body movement. The average age of onset of Parkinson’s disease is 60 years and the longer somebody has it, the more likely they are prone to develop dementia.

Risk Factors Causing Parkinson’s Dementia

The cause of Parkinson’s disease is obscure, but various factors seem to play a role, including:

  • Genetics: Research studies have identified specific genes that can cause Parkinson’s dementia.
  • Environmental Triggers: Vulnerability to certain environmental factors or toxins can increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease, but somehow the risk is small.
  • Age: Young adults do not usually experience Parkinson’s disease. It begins in the mid or later stages of life. The risk advances with age because people normally develop Parkinson’s around the age of 60 or older.

 

What Symptoms of Parkinson’s Dementia to Look Out for?

The symptoms of Parkinson’s dementia include the following:

  • Loss of decision-making skills
  • Difficulty in adapting to changes
  • Disorientation in common surroundings
  • Problem learning new stuff
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Lack of short and long-term memory
  • Problem with putting a sequence of functions in the correct order
  • Difficulties using complex languages.  

People with Parkinson’s dementia may often respond slowly to requests and questions. They may become fearful, dependent, passive, and indecisive. As the illness advances, the sufferers of this disease may become increasingly reliant on caregivers. 


How Does Parkinson’s Dementia Affect a Person’s Life?

Parkinson’s dementia is often accompanied by these problems, which may be treatable:

  • Difficulty Thinking– They may experience cognitive impairments and thinking difficulties.
  • Depression and Emotional Problems– In the initial stages, they may experience depression. Receiving treatment for depression can make it easy to manage the other challenges of Parkinson’s dementia. Emotional changes, such as anxiety, fear, or loss of motivation can also be the result of the condition.
  • Anxiety– Extreme worry or fear disrupting everyday activities or relationships. Physical signs such as extreme fatigue, restlessness, or muscle tension are visible.
  • Psychosis– It is the failure to think realistically. The symptoms may include delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia.
  • Problems with Swallowing– As the condition progresses, they may find difficulties with swallowing. Saliva may collect in their mouth due to decreased swallowing, thus leading to drooling.
  • Eating Disorders– Parkinson’s dementia affects the muscles in their mouth, causing difficulty with chewing. This can also lead to poor nutrition.
  • Sleep-related Problems– People with Parkinson’s often have sleep difficulties, including waking up regularly throughout the night, or falling asleep during the day. Different types of dementia medication can help sleep problems.
  • Bladder Problems– The illness may cause bladder problems, where the person finds it difficult with urinating or loss of control.


When Should You Call a Doctor for Parkinson’s Dementia?

Any significant change, inability to reason, think, or concentrate, or lack in problem-solving; in use of language; in memory; in mood; or changes in behaviour or personality of a person justifies a visit to a mental health care professional.

Treatments for Dementia- Help is Available

Although there is currently no cure for dementia and the signs of dementia cannot be reversed, still, the progression of the illness can be dramatically slowed, allowing your loved one to continue to enjoy the quality of life.

It is important to identify the cause of memory loss and personality changes so that appropriate treatment can be provided at the right time. It is equally crucial that the family members understand what type of dementia is present so that appropriate types of dementia medication, treatment, and intervention approaches can be taken to ensure the person’s safety and well-being.

Why Cadabams?

We have over two decades of experience in handling the rehabilitation and unique needs of elderly dementia patients. Our services are recognized by the expertise of our healthcare professionals, the caliber of our caregivers, and the responsiveness of our staff. Our cognitive therapeutics focus on fun ways to keep the minds of your loved ones sharp and active.

We don’t just offer caregivers for seniors. We also work with families to deliver world-class personalized care plans to ensure that we bring energy, independence, and joy to their lives. Our team also takes care that you have clear lines of communication with healthcare professionals.

If you or your loved one is concerned about dementia symptoms, it is a good idea to book an appointment and talk to the doctors and specialists at Cadabams, They offer excellent dementia treatment in India. They can address your concerns, perform tests to evaluate your condition, and outline a customized care plan accordingly.


Need more information about long term care for Dementia?

If you need any assistance or more information about long term care for dementia, we are available and happy to assist. Call us on our 24/7 helpline number- +91 96111 94949