Dementia What You Need To Know

Dementia Seven Types

Dementia is not a single illness or a specific disease. Instead, it is a collective term that refers to a wide range of symptoms associated with cognitive decline. Dementia usually leads to problems in memory, reasoning, and thinking. It usually occurs when the sections of the brain used for memory, learning, language, and decision-making, are diseased or damaged. When this part of the brain is damaged, a person’s ability to perform everyday duties is severely compromised. According to statistics, Alzheimer’s disease contributes to 60 to 80% of dementia cases reported worldwide. Currently, there are approximately 50 million people worldwide, suffering from dementia. Although it is not a normal part of the aging process, it mainly affects senior citizens.

Seven Dementia Types

As noted earlier, dementia refers to various conditions or symptoms that lead to memory loss. It occurs due to damage of brain cells. Due to this damage, the ability of brain cells to communicate with each other is severely affected. When brain cells malfunction, the victim cannot think, behave, feel or communicate normally. Therefore, you cannot isolate certain factors as dementia causes. There are different dementia types, including Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson’s disease, Frontotemporal dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, mixed dementia, Huntington’s disease, and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, among others.

– Alzheimer’s Diseases

Alzheimer’s disease contributes to 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Individuals who have Alzheimer’s disease tend to suffer from depression. They also forget recent events as well as names, including those of close family members. The death of brain cells usually causes Alzheimer’s disease. As the disease spreads in the brain, the victims experience mood changes and confusion. They also have problems walking or speaking. Older adults are more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease as compared to youths.

– Vascular Dementia

Vascular Dementia is also another common type of dementia. It ranks second after Alzheimer’s disease. It occurs to due to insufficient or lack of blood flow to the brain. When there is a lack of blood flow to the brain, the brain is deprived of vital nutrients and oxygen. This compromises its normal functioning. Vascular dementia is also associated with old age. It is also associated with stroke and atherosclerotic disease. Common symptoms of vascular dementia include disorientation and confusions. The symptoms can appear suddenly or slowly, depending on the causative agents. As it progresses, the victims have problems concentrating for long periods or completing tasks. Vascular dementia is also associated with vision problems and hallucinations.

– Parkinson’s Disease

Most people who have Parkinson’s disease tend to develop dementia at some stage. Early symptoms of this form of dementia include problems with judgment and reasoning. For example, if you have Parkinson’s disease dementia, you will have problems remembering how to undertake common daily tasks or even understanding visual information. You might also suffer from frightening and confusing hallucinations. As the disease progresses, most victims become paranoid or depressed. Others might forget words or have trouble having a conversation.

– Dementia with Lewy Bodies

Also called Lewy body dementia, it occurs due to protein deposits in the nerve cells. These deposits interrupt chemical messages in the brain, thus leading to disorientation and memory loss. People suffering from Lewy body dementia have trouble falling asleep or experience visual hallucinations. They might also fall asleep unexpectedly during the day. They might also become disoriented, lost or faint. People suffering from Lewy body dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease share many symptoms like trembling of hands, speech disorientation and walking problems.

– Frontotemporal Dementia

Frontotemporal Dementia is a collective term that refers to various types of dementia, all affecting the side and front parts of the brain. These parts of the brain are associated with language control and behavior. Frontotemporal Dementia tends to run in families. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, it can affect people as young as 45 years. It leads to loss of motivations and inhibitions, and compulsive behavior as well. People with Frontotemporal Dementia may also have speech problems while forgetting the meaning of common words.

– Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

Also known as Wernicke’s encephalopathy, Wernicke’s disease is a brain disorder caused by lack of or insufficient vitamin B-1, which leads to bleeding in the lower portions of the brain. It can lead to physical symptoms such as loss of muscle coordination or double vision. At some stage, the physical symptoms associated with Wernicke’s disease tend to reduce. At the same time, early symptoms of Korsakoff syndrome start appearing. People with Korsakoff syndrome may have problems learning new skills, processing information or remembering things. Alcoholism is one of the main causes of vitamin B-1 deficiency.

– Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s disease is a genetic disorder that leads to dementia. There are two types including adult and juvenile onset. The juvenile type is not common. Its symptoms appear in childhood and adolescence. The adult type manifests itself when individuals are in their 30s and 40s. It leads to a premature breakdown of nerve cells in the brain, leading to dementia and impaired movement. Symptoms of Huntington’s disease include difficulty learning new things, trouble speaking, difficulty focusing on tasks, and impulse control actions.

Dementia Treatment

Most forms of dementia occur due to death of brain cells. Currently, no treatments are available for degenerative dementia. Therefore, treatments usually focus on management of disorders, to enable the victims to live a decent life. Support and care should be person-centered, due to the wide range of symptoms associated with dementia. Some of the management treatments available include talking therapies to help the affected individual come to terms with their condition. Also, cognitive behavioral therapy helps individuals suffering from anxiety and depression while cognitive rehabilitation to help the victim cope better, and engaging in popular activities like art, singing or music. It is important for people with dementia to remain as active as possible – socially, mentally and physically, since it boosts their self-esteem and increases their confidence.

Available dementia treatments usually target the symptoms. In some cases, they might delay the progress of the symptoms for a while. For example, an individual suffering from mixed dementia or mild Alzheimer’s disease may be instructed to take galantamine, rivastigmine, or donepezil. These drugs may provide temporary help with motivation, concentration, daily living, and memory. Memantine is usually prescribed to individuals who have severe Alzheimer’s disease. A wide range of drugs may be described for dementia treatment, depending on the underlying symptoms and the causes of dementia.

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