Types of Dementia

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dementia-figureAlzheimer’s Disease  – The Alzheimer’s Association reports this disease accounts for 60% to 80% of all dementia cases. There is no cure and doctors aren’t certain of the cause. Age is the greatest risk factor, but it can strike people who are as young as 30 (early onset).

Dementia with Lewy Bodies  – Robin Williams’ death brought this disease into the media spotlight. Symptoms of dementia with lewy bodies include difficulty sleeping, hallucinations, loss of smell, memory problems and impaired movement.  The symptoms can be ameliorated with certain medication.

Vascular dementia  – Vascular dementia results from poor blood flow to the brain over a period of time, most commonly a result of plaque buildup. Managing cardiovascular issues correctly can reduce the chance of vascular dementia.

Frontotemporal dementia – A genetic condition, frontotemporal dementia symptoms are behavioral changes or language problems; but unlike other forms of dementia, memory loss is not an issue.

Parkinson’s disease – Parkinson’s disease (very similar to dementia with lewy bodies) symptoms include impaired memory, trouble sleeping, hallucinations, and tremors.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease – Very rare, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease has a high early mortality rate (90% within a year of diagnosis). Symptoms are very similar to other dementias, but unlike other types, a protein in the brain begins to spontaneously change shape and we don’t know exactly why.

Mixed dementia – As we learn more about dementia, it seems that in many cases the types can be combinations of two different diseases.

Huntington’s Disease – Huntington’s disease (characterized by abnormal involuntary movement, slowed thinking and reasoning abilities and depression/irritability)  is a progressive brain disorder caused by a single defective gene on chromosome 4.

Normal pressure hydrocephalus – Caused by fluid trapped in the brain, sometimes it can be solved with a shunt, and symptoms include difficulty walking, memory loss and inability to control urination.

Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome – Caused by alcoholism (most commonly) Korsakoff syndrome is a memory disorder triggered by severe deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B-1). Thiamine helps brain cells produce energy from sugar, cells which cannot generate enough energy to function.

This list and symptoms/details was compiled by information on the internet. It is only meant to be an introduction to types of dementia that aren’t discussed as often, but you should go to a doctor if you or a loved one has symptoms or questions.