Which types of dementia exist
On this blog, we are talking a lot about different ways on how you can determine the first signs of dementia and how to train your cognitive functions and stay healthy and fit. But what different types of dementia do actually exist? And what do these conditions all contain? We will answer those questions for you today.
Dementia - the umbrella term for various neurological conditions
When we are talking about dementia, it is actually an umbrella term for a variety of different neurological conditions, where one of the dominating symptoms includes the decline of brain function. Dementia is a disease symptom and not a normal part of aging, however the risk of getting dementia increases with age. Even though there are over 100 different conditions that can potentially cause dementia, today we will take a look at the three most common causes to break it down for you.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, currently affecting up to 70% of people worldwide living with dementia. In early 1900, Dr. Alzheimer found that Alzheimer’s disease damages the brain, resulting in the death of the brain cells. This results in impaired memory, thinking as well as change in behavior and language. The biggest risk factor for getting Alzheimer’s disease includes age, however, there are some types of Alzheimer’s (sporadic Alzheimer’s) that can affect anybody of any age, also younger people.
Persistent and frequent memory difficulties, especially of recent events
Vagueness in everyday conversation
The apparent loss of enthusiasm for previously enjoyed activities
Taking longer to do routine tasks
Forgetting well-known people or places
Inability to process questions and instructions
Deterioration of social skills
Vascular dementia is the second most common disease for people living with dementia. Vascular dementia is associated with challenges of circulation of blood to the brain and can occur in different types of forms, two of the most common ones being Multi-infarct dementia and Binswanger’s disease.
This condition is caused by a number of strokes, oftentimes accompanied by a variety of other symptoms such as depression, mood swings, and epilepsy, which develop progressively over a certain period of time. These strokes cause damage to the outer layer of the brain, which is associated with learning, memory, and language. In comparison to Alzheimer’s patients, people living with multi-infarct dementia are more likely to have better insight in the early stages and also remain a relatively intact personality longer than patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
This condition is also associated with stroke-related changes to the brain, however, the area deep within the brain, also known as ‘white matter’ is being affected. Binswanger’s disease is caused by high blood pressure, thickening of the arteries, and inadequate blood flow, also to the brain. Other risks of developing vascular dementia include atrial fibrillation as well as irregular heart rhythms raising the risk of clots and atherosclerosis
Lewy body disease
Lewy body disease is also a very common reason for dementia. It is caused by the deterioration and death of nerve cells in the brain. Inside the nerve cells, researchers found the presence of abnormal spherical structures, which are called Lewy bodies, and are associated with the death of these cells. There are currently no known causes that could potentially be made responsible for developing the disease. Symptoms of Lewy body disease include difficulty concentration and focus one’s attention, being extremely confused, as well as having difficulty judging distances.
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