What comes to your mind when you hear the word DEMENTIA?
If you are like most people, you automatically thought of Alzheimer’s, but Alzheimer’s is just one cause of dementia. We would like you to know that dementia is an “umbrella” term that describes a decline in memory, reasoning and thinking skills that significantly impacts a person’s ability to function in their daily life.
While Alzheimer’s could be a potential diagnosis for someone experiencing this level of difficulties with daily tasks, understanding that there are four other common types of dementia, could help you when assisting a loved one in seeking answers, care, and guidance for the cause of their cognitive changes.
Here is a brief description of the 5 most common forms of dementia:
- Alzheimer’s Disease: is the most common type of dementia and is a progressive brain disease that leads to damage in the parts of the brain necessary for memory functions.
- Early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s include difficulty finding words, confusion with time and place, trouble with judging distance and challenges in planning and decision-making.
- Vascular dementia: is the second most common form of dementia and is caused by reduced blood supply to the brain. This could be caused by blood vessels that are diseased, blocked or otherwise damaged, without the necessary blood supply, brain cells die.
- Early signs of vascular dementia include difficulty concentrating, decrease in the ability to follow steps and problems with planning and decision-making.
- Frontotemporal dementia (FTD): is a type of dementia that affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, the sections that maintain memory, language, problem-solving, behaviors and emotions.
- Early signs of FTD include changes in behavior, emotional control, obsessive habits, and speech pattern difficulty.
- Lewy body: also known as Lewy body dementia, is marked by the presence of Lewy bodies, which are tiny deposits of protein that are in the nerve cells in the brain, causing a loss of connection between these cells.
- Lewy Bodies are also present in Parkinson’s disease and both diagnosis’ bring similar symptoms of tremors, difficulties with movement, sleep, hallucinations, and attention difficulties.
- Mixed dementia: occurs when a person has more than one type of dementia. The most common type of mixed dementia is Alzheimer’s/vascular.
These five causes of dementia are the most common, but there are several additional diseases and conditions that can cause dementia as well. Visit www.alz.org to learn more about all the causes and full explanations of all things related to dementia.