Symptoms Specific To Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Dementia with Lewy bodies has many of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and people with the condition typically also experience:
- periods of being alert or drowsy, or fluctuating levels of confusion
- visual hallucinations
- becoming slower in their physical movements
- repeated falls and fainting
Read more about dementia with Lewy bodies.
How Dementia Is Treated
If you are diagnosed with a dementia, your doctor will discuss the most appropriate help and medical support for you.
Many types of dementia are not curable. But there is treatment and support that can help slow the progression of the condition and improve people’s quality of life.
Treatment and support can make a big difference to your day-to-day living, for example enabling you to stay independent longer and enjoy your regular activities with family and friends.
For further information see terms and conditions.
Common Types Of Dementia
Most people diagnosed with dementia have one of 4 common types: Alzheimers Disease, Vascular Dementia, Frontotemporal Dementia and Dementia with Lewy Bodies. These types of dementia have slightly different symptoms and causes. You can find out more about each type below, and from our dedicated guides to each of these common types of dementia.
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Symptoms Specific To Alzheimer’s Disease
The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia include:
- memory loss – especially problems with memory for recent events, such as forgetting messages, remembering routes or names, and asking questions repetitively
- increasing difficulties with tasks and activities that require organisation and planning
- becoming confused in unfamiliar environments
- difficulty finding the right words
- difficulty with numbers and/or handling money in shops
- changes in personality and mood
Early symptoms of dementia are often mild and may get worse only very gradually. This means you might not notice if you have them, and family and friends may not notice them or take them seriously for some time.
In dementia, the brain becomes more damaged and works less well over time. The symptoms of dementia tend to change and become more severe.
For this reason, it’s important to talk to your GP sooner rather than later if you are worried about memory problems.
The speed at which symptoms get worse, and the way that symptoms develop, depends on what’s causing the dementia, as well as overall health. This means that the symptoms and experience of dementia can vary greatly from person to person.
Some people may also have more than one condition for example, they may have Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia at the same time.
The Different Types Of Dementia
The term dementia describes a collection of symptoms, rather than a disease.
These symptoms can include memory loss, difficulties with language, or problem solving, and are a result of damage to the brain caused by conditions like Alzheimers disease, or a stroke.
There are many different types of dementia, depending on what has caused the damage and what symptoms have arisen as a result. Different research studies may therefore look specifically at different types of dementia.
We will look at some of the most common dementia types below.
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Symptoms Specific To Frontotemporal Dementia
Although Alzheimer’s disease is still the most common type of dementia in people under 65, a higher percentage of people in this age group may develop frontotemporal dementia than older people. Most cases are diagnosed in people aged 45-65.
Early symptoms of frontotemporal dementia may include:
- personality changes reduced sensitivity to others’ feelings, making people seem cold and unfeeling
- lack of social awareness making inappropriate jokes or showing a lack of tact, though some people may become very withdrawn and apathetic
- language problems difficulty finding the right words or understanding them
- becoming obsessive such as developing fads for unusual foods, overeating and drinking
Read more about frontotemporal dementia.
Have You Just Been Diagnosed With Dementia
Whether your diagnosis came as a shock, or confirmed what you’d suspected for some time, it’s important to plan ahead while you’re still able to make clear decisions for yourself.
If you’ve just been diagnosed with dementia, you may be feeling numb, scared and unable to take everything in. Give yourself a little time to adjust. It might help to talk it through with family and friends.
Once the initial feelings have passed, it’s time to move on and create an action plan for the future. Dementia is a progressive illness, so the sooner you take care of legal, financial and healthcare matters, the better. These are the key things to think about:
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Stage : Moderate Dementia
Patients in stage 5 need some assistance in order to carry out their daily lives. The main sign for stage 5 dementia is the inability to remember major details such as the name of a close family member or a home address. Patients may become disoriented about the time and place, have trouble making decisions, and forget basic information about themselves, such as a telephone number or address.
While moderate dementia can interfere with basic functioning, patients at this stage do not need assistance with basic functions such as using the bathroom or eating. Patients also still have the ability to remember their own names and generally the names of spouses and children.
How Common Is Dementia
Research shows there are more than 850,000 people in the UK who have dementia. One in 14 people over the age of 65 have dementia, and the condition affects 1 in 6 people over 80.
The number of people with dementia is increasing because people are living longer. It is estimated that by 2025, the number of people with dementia in the UK will be more than 1 million.
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Organising Care At Home
With the right support, someone who has dementia may be able to continue living at home for a long time.
Although having dementia can reduce a persons ability to live independently, there is a variety of support available to help them. If you care for someone with dementia and want to help them to continue to live at home, you can find advice and resources below in the following areas:
Watch this video from the Alzheimers Society featuring 92-year-old Rose, who has dementia and lives in her own flat, supported by family and carers.
Symptoms Specific To Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of dementia, after Alzheimer’s. Some people have both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, often called “mixed dementia”.
Symptoms of vascular dementia are similar to Alzheimer’s disease, although memory loss may not be as obvious in the early stages.
Symptoms can sometimes develop suddenly and quickly get worse, but they can also develop gradually over many months or years.
Specific symptoms can include:
- stroke-like symptoms: including muscle weakness or temporary paralysis on one side of the body
- movement problems difficulty walking or a change in the way a person walks
- thinking problems having difficulty with attention, planning and reasoning
- mood changes depression and a tendency to become more emotional
Read more about vascular dementia.
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There Are Five Different Types Of Dementia
Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Dementia with Lewy Bodies is another common form of dementia. It is caused by a build up of proteins called Lewy Bodies in the body. Lewy Bodies are also what cause Parkinsons disease, which is why both illnesses share the symptoms of reduced mobility and a shuffling walk. DLB also causes significant mental decline associated with the other major types of dementia, including lapses in memory and forgetfulness.
Read more about Dementia with Lewy bodies, including symptoms and treatments, in our Guide to Lewy Body Dementia.
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Stage : Mild Cognitive Impairment
Clear cognitive problems begin to manifest in stage 3. A few signs of stage 3 dementia include:
- Getting lost easily
- Noticeably poor performance at work
- Forgetting the names of family members and close friends
- Difficulty retaining information read in a book or passage
- Losing or misplacing important objects
- Difficulty concentrating
Patients often start to experience mild to moderate anxiety as these symptoms increasingly interfere with day to day life. Patients who may be in this stage of dementia are encouraged to have a clinical interview with a clinician for proper diagnosis.
Nhs Support For Dementia
NHS help for dementia includes the treatment you receive from your GP and hospital. It can also include other types of healthcare such as community mental health nurses, physiotherapy, audiology , optometry , podiatry , speech and language therapy, and mobility specialists.
The NHS will also fund any nursing care you receive in a nursing home, although nursing home placement may not be completely free.
In some parts of the country, the NHS provides Admiral nurses. These are NHS specialist dementia nurses who will visit you to give you practical guidance on accessing services as well as offering emotional support.
The NHS provides free continuing healthcare, for people with dementia whose care needs relate mainly to their health. If youre awarded continuing healthcare, the NHS will provide and fund your entire care package including your healthcare and social care whether you live in a care home or in your own home. If you live in a care home, NHS continuing healthcare covers your residential costs and your food, as well as any nursing care.
To qualify for NHS continuing healthcare, you need to have an individual assessment, this may have already happened. To check whether youve had a continuing healthcare assessment, or to request one, contact your local NHS organisation and ask for the NHS continuing healthcare co-ordinator.
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Questions About Funding Care
Care Sourcers friendly care experts are on hand to provide guidance on typical care costs, help you explore your funding and benefit options, or even negotiate care fees on your behalf. Call us on freephone:
Nursing care home
A nursing home is very like a residential care home, but the main difference is there are always trained nurses on duty. This means they are more suitable for people who have a medical condition such as dementia that has progressed beyond early stages, or people who have been told they have other nursing needs.
There are also dual-registered care homes which cater for both residential and nursing clients within the one care home. This can be beneficial as someone may not have nursing needs at the moment but may do in the future
Take Part In Dementia Research
There are many dementia research projects and clinical trials going on around the world, many of which are based in the UK.
If you have a dementia diagnosis or are worried about memory problems, you can help scientists understand more about it, and develop possible treatments, by taking part in research.
Carers can also take part, as there are studies into the best ways to care for someone with a dementia diagnosis.
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Less Common Types Of Dementia
Though they are much more rare, there are other types of dementia. 5% of all dementia cases in the UK are caused by rarer forms of dementia. It is thought that most forms of rare dementia are under-diagnosed in part because people do not know to look out for them. Some rarer forms of dementia have very specific symptoms that differ from other types of dementia.
Below you can find out more about rare types of dementia:
What Is Mixed Dementia
It is common for people with dementia to have more than one form of dementia. For example, many people with dementia have both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
Researchers who have conducted autopsy studies have looked at the brains of people who had dementia, and have suggested that most people age 80 and older probably have mixed dementia caused by a combination of brain changes related to Alzheimer’s disease,vascular disease-related processes, or another condition that involves the loss of nerve cell function or structure and nerve cell death .
Scientists are investigating how the underlying disease processes in mixed dementia start and influence each other. Further knowledge gains in this area will help researchers better understand these conditions and develop more personalized prevention and treatment strategies.
Other conditions that cause dementia-like symptoms can be halted or even reversed with treatment. For example, normal pressure hydrocephalus, an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, often resolves with treatment.
Researchers have also identified many other conditions that can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms. These conditions include:
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Dementia: What Are The Main Types
While ageing, the brain encounters significant modifications. For example, from the age of 60, it slowly starts to shrink. Heart diseases and head traumas can also have an important effect on the brain, sometimes causing dementia. A persons family history also influences the occurrence of this kind of syndrome.
Dementia is a significant sign of progressive neurodegeneration. This causes the death of some brain cells as well as tissue loss. The most frequently affected areas are the memory, the thinking, the behaviour and the ability to do some tasks for the sick person.
Continue below to learn what are the five different types of dementia.
Tips For Getting Help And Support For Dementia
Getting help and support for dementia can be made difficult by the memory, functional and emotional problems caused by dementia. And it can be complicated for carers to act on behalf of a person with dementia. These three tips may help:
- Keep copies of forms and letters and a record of who youve seen. It will help you keep track of your progress and be useful for the health and social care professionals you meet.
- Be prepared to be persistent to get what you want. Health and social care professionals may not always communicate with each other as well as they should, and you may find you have to explain your situation each time you meet a new professional.
- Consider using an advocacy organisation. Advocacy organisations can help you access services and give you advice about your rights, particularly if you find meetings and talks with health and social care professionals quite intimidating. The Alzheimers Society has a nationwide network of advocates.
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Why It’s Important To Get A Diagnosis
Although there is no cure for dementia at the moment, an early diagnosis means its progress can be slowed down in some cases, so the person may be able to maintain their mental function for longer.
A diagnosis helps people with dementia get the right treatment and support. It can also help them, and the people close to them, to prepare for the future.
Read more about how dementia is diagnosed.
End Of Life Dementia Care
While it is perfectly possible to live well with dementia for any number of years, it is unfortunately still advisable to plan ahead and think about end of life care.
Making these decisions while you or your loved one with dementia is still able to make their choices known will give everyone a sense of peace and help to avoid difficult situations at a later date.
End of life planning can help you decide:
- how youd like to be cared for in the final months of your life
- where youd like to be cared for
- who youd like to be with you
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What Are Specific Care Needs At Each Stage
An individual may not require care assistance after the initial diagnosis of dementia, but that will change as the disease progresses and symptoms become worse. There are about 16 million unpaid caregivers of people with dementia in the United States. While many caregivers are providing daily help for family members, they also hire someone to help. There are many options of care assistance, such as in-home care, adult day care, and nursing home care. There is also financial assistance available.
Early Stage DementiaAs mentioned above, in the early stage of dementia a person can function rather independently and requires little care assistance. Simple reminders of appointments and names of people may be needed. Caregivers can also assist with coping strategies to help loved ones remain as independent as possible, such as writing out a daily to-do list and a schedule for taking medications. Safety should always be considered, and if any tasks cannot be performed safely alone, supervision and assistance should be provided. During this period of dementia, its a good idea for caregivers and loved ones to discuss the future. For example, a long-term care plan should be made and financial and legal matters put in place.