Types of dementia

Dementia is the broad term used to describe a number of different conditions affecting the brain. The changes in brain makes it difficult for people to perform basic daily activities.

Dementia affects the three areas of the brain that helps us function:

  • Language

  • Memory

  • Decision-making

Medications might slow that decline and help with symptoms, such as behaviour changes.

There are many different types of dementia such as:

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. It's what most people think of when they hear "dementia."

About 5 percent of cases of Alzheimer’s are early onset Alzheimer’s, occurring in people in their 40s or 50s.

If someone has Alzheimer's, the main symptoms are memory loss and trouble planning and doing familiar tasks. The other symptoms are mild at first but get worse over a number of years such as:

  • Be confused about where they are or what day it is

  • Have problems speaking or writing

  • Lose things and be unable to backtrack to find them

  • Show poor judgment

  • Have mood and personality changes

Vascular Dementia

This type of dementia it's usually caused by a major stroke, or one or more smaller, "silent" strokes, which can happen suddenly. The Vascular Dementia symptoms depend on which part of their brain was affected by the stroke.

Vascular dementia main symptoms are poor judgment or trouble planning, organising, and making decisions. Other symptoms can include:

  • Memory problems

  • Trouble speaking or understanding speech

  • Problems recognising sights and sounds that used to be familiar

  • Being confused or agitated

  • Changes in personality and mood

  • Problems walking and having frequent falls

Dementia With Lewy Bodies (DLB)

Lewy bodies is when deposits have formed in the part of the brain called the cortex.

The symptoms include:

  • Problems thinking clearly, making decisions, or paying attention

  • Problems with movement, including trembling, slowness, and trouble walking

  • Memory troubles

  • Visual hallucinations

  • Sleepiness during the day

  • Moments of "blanking out" or staring

Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)

FTD is brain cell damage in areas of the brain that control planning, judgment, emotions, speech, and movement. Symptoms include:

  • Personality changes

  • Behaviour changes

  • Sudden lack of inhibitions

  • Struggling with the right words for things when speaking

  • Movement problems, such as shakiness, balance problems, and muscle spasms

Huntington's Disease

Huntingtons disease is a genetic defect that's passed down through family members, symptoms don’t usually start to show up until they are between the ages of 30 and 50.

Huntington's symptoms are similar to other dementia types, but include the following:

  • Thinking and reasoning

  • Memory

  • Judgment

  • Planning and organizing

  • Concentration

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

This is a rare condition in which proteins called prions cause normal proteins in the brain to start folding into abnormal shapes. The damage leads to dementia symptoms that happen suddenly and quickly get worse.

Your loved one might have:

  • Memory and concentration problems

  • Poor judgment

  • Confusion

  • Mood swings

  • Depression

  • Sleep problems

  • Twitching or jerky muscles

  • Trouble walking

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