Dementia isn’t a specific disease. Instead, dementia describes a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning. Though dementia generally involves memory loss, memory loss 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 widely publicized types of dementia, each of which will have different symptoms and behaviours most often associated with the disease.
Different Types of Dementia & 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 judgment. 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 types of dementia which typically result 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 a vascular cognitive impairment.
- Parkinson’s Disease: This is one of the 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. Parkinson’s disease 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. 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 types of dementia can be caused by a build-up of fluid in the brain. Individuals with this type of dementia present with different symptoms at different times. Sometimes they complain of dizziness and difficulty walking or maintaining balance. Sometimes they appear confused and lethargic. Sometimes they experience episodic memory loss. Sometimes they 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. 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.
Treatments for Dementia- Help is Available
Although there is currently no cure for dementia and the signs of dementia cannot be reversed as of yet, 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 important that family members understand what type of dementia is present so that appropriate treatment and intervention approaches can be taken to ensure the person’s safety and well-being.
Discover more information you need about different types of dementia. Learn more about the risks, potential causes, stages, available treatments, and more from us. Feel free to call us today at 96111 94949 or visit Cadabam’s.