Types of Dementia

Dementia serves as an umbrella-term for several different types of brain diseases that all share similar symptoms. We will talk about the five most common types of dementia below. While we will discuss them separately, it is not uncommon to have a combination of different types of dementia.

Alzheimer’s Disease 

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia and it accounts for nearly 80% of cases, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s can vary, as the disease progresses from mild cognitive impairment to more severe stages. What might begin with difficulty remembering words or recent events will progress into impaired function, communication and a range of difficult behaviors. More than 5 million Americans now have Alzheimer's disease or some other form of dementia. According to the Alzheimer's Association, someone develops Alzheimer's every 68 seconds. Still not completely understood, Alzheimer's is cause by abnormal deposits of protein in the brain known as plaque. This causes a tangle in the brain, leading to nerve and cell damage, thereby causing fatal damage within the brain.

Dementia with Lewy Bodies

“Lewy bodies” are clumps of proteins in the brain that can form on their own or as a result of another dementia. It is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s. It is common to experience memory loss and a difficulty with reasoning, as well as strong visual hallucinations. Individuals may also have sleep disruptions, becoming alert at night and sleeping during the day. Similarly to Parkinson’s disease, dementia with lewy bodies leads to a greater difficulty with movements and ambulation.

Vascular Dementia

This type of dementia is found in those who have suffered a stroke. It is caused by problems with blood vessels, usually a result of trauma. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an individual with vascular dementia will show impaired judgment and have difficulty with organizing and decision making, rather than extreme memory loss.  

Parkinson’s Disease Dementia

The National Parkinson Foundation estimates that 1 million Americans have the neurological disorder known as Parkinson’s disease. It is estimated that 50-80% of those with Parkinson’s disease eventually experience Parkinson’s disease dementia. Those with Parkinson's disease dementia will have problems with movement, 'rigid' muscles, motor control and hallucinations.

Frontal-temporal Dementia

This is also an umbrella term used to talk about a group of disorders that cause cell degeneration and tissue shrinkage in the brain’s frontal lobes. The frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are responsible for language, behavior, emotion and personality. The frontal lobes are the "brake pedal" of the brain and are responsible for good judgment and filtering actions or comments according to their appropriateness. Those with frontal-temporal dementia may exhibit difficult behaviors such as swearing, impulsive behavior, or unfiltered, socially-inappropriate comments.  

 

Regardless of the type of dementia your loved-one is facing, Sound Options offers in-home memory care options and trained caregivers to offer customized support and care. Our team of Geriatric Care Managers meet with families to educate them about the disease, develop and manage a care plan and guide them through the process to provide for the needs of today and tomorrow. Give us a call today to receive the guidance you need to face the challenges ahead. We may not have control over the progression of the disease, but we do have control over the people and professionals that we choose to surround ourselves with during difficult times. You have Sound Options 800.628.7649.   

Further Resources:

Alzheimer’s Association: http://www.alz.org/dementia/types-of-dementia.asp

Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dementia/basics/definition/con-20034399

Parkinson’s Disease Foundation: http://www.pdf.org/

Lewy Bodies Dementia Association: http://www.lbda.org/category/3437/what-is-lbd.htm

Published on November 1, 2016.