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What Are The Four Most Common Forms Of Dementia

The Three Most Common Types Of Dementia And Their Differences

What are the most common types of dementia and the need-to-know info?

Dementia is a disease that affects millions of seniors in the US every year, causing irreversible loss of memory and functioning. Caregivers of loved ones suffering from dementia should know that there are several different types of the condition, each with its own unique symptoms, as well as some similarities across the board. It can be difficult to determine what type of dementia you or your loved one may be experiencing, and the only way to accurately diagnose any disease is to speak with your doctor.

The three most common types of dementia are:

  • Alzheimers Disease

Read on to learn more about these types of dementia and their symptoms and treatment.

Does Memory Loss Mean Dementia Is Starting

One common misbelief about memory loss is that it always means you or a loved one has dementia. There are many causes of memory loss. Memory loss alone doesnt necessarily confirm a diagnosis of dementia.

Its also true that some memory changes are normal as a person ages . However, this type of memory loss isnt functionally disabling meaning, it doesnt interfere with daily life.

Dementia interferes with your ability to function. Dementia isnt forgetting where you left your keys. A person with dementia can have situations like forgetting what keys are used for. Dementia isnt a normal part of aging.

What Are The Four Most Common Types Of Dementia

Although dementia is a huge global health issue, a surprising number of people know little about the condition. In our latest blog we take a look at the 4 most common types of dementia in the UK.

Dementia affects around 850,000 people in the UK alone and the numbers continue to rise year after year, with statistics predicting at least 1 million people will be living with dementia by 2025. Although dementia has become a huge public health issue over the last few years, its a condition that is still widely misunderstood.

What is dementia?

Rather than being an illness in itself, the word dementia describes a set of symptoms caused by a variety of illnesses that affect the brain. These symptoms broadly involve difficulties with cognitive functions like planning, problem-solving, remembering, speaking and processing language.

Theres often confusion over Alzheimers disease and dementia, with the terms being used interchangeably. In fact, people with Alzheimers have dementia but not everyone with dementia has Alzheimers. Although its the most common form, Alzheimers disease is only one of over 200 subtypes of dementia. However, the majority of people in the UK who live with a dementia will have one of the 4 most common types.

Alzheimers disease

Vascular dementia

Dementia with Lewy bodies

Frontotemporal dementia

Living with dementia

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Causes Of Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, which damages and eventually kills brain cells.

This can happen as a result of:

  • narrowing and blockage of the small blood vessels inside the brain
  • a single stroke, where the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly cut off
  • lots of “mini strokes” that cause tiny but widespread damage to the brain

Not everyone who has a stroke will go on to develop vascular dementia.

Read more about vascular dementia.

How Is Dementia Treated

What are common early signs of dementia?

Treatment of dementia depends on the underlying cause. Neurodegenerative dementias, like Alzheimers disease, have no cure, though there are medications that can help protect the brain or manage symptoms such as anxiety or behavior changes. Research to develop more treatment options is ongoing.

Leading a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, healthy eating, and maintaining social contacts, decreases chances of developing chronic diseases and may reduce number of people with dementia.

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Understanding Different Types Of Dementia

As we age, its normal to lose some neurons in the brain. People living with dementia, however, experience far greater loss. Many neurons stop working, lose connections with other brain cells, and eventually die. At first, symptoms can be mild, but they get worse over time.

Read on to learn more about four different types of dementia.

Dementia Caused By Huntingtons Disease

Huntingtons disease is an inherited degenerative brain disease that affects the mind and body. It usually appears between the ages of 30 and 50, and is characterised by intellectual decline and irregular involuntary movement of the limbs or facial muscles. Other symptoms include personality change, memory disturbance, slurred speech, impaired judgement and psychiatric problems.There is no treatment available to stop the progression of this disease, but medication can control movement disorders and psychiatric symptoms. Dementia occurs in the majority of people with Huntingtons disease.

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What Are The Different Types Of Dementia

Various disorders and factors contribute to the development of dementia. Neurodegenerative disorders result in a progressive and irreversible loss of neurons and brain functioning. Currently, there are no cures for these diseases.

The five most common forms of dementia are:

  • Alzheimers disease, the most common dementia diagnosis among older adults. It is caused by changes in the brain, including abnormal buildups of proteins, known as amyloid plaques and tau tangles.
  • Frontotemporal dementia, a rare form of dementia that tends to occur in people younger than 60. It is associated with abnormal amounts or forms of the proteins tau and TDP-43.
  • Lewy body dementia, a form of dementia caused by abnormal deposits of the protein alpha-synuclein, called Lewy bodies.
  • Vascular dementia, a form of dementia caused by conditions that damage blood vessels in the brain or interrupt the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.
  • Mixed dementia, a combination of two or more types of dementia.

What’s The Life Expectancy Of A Person With Dementia

4 MOST COMMON Types of Dementia

Theres no easy way to answer this question. Dementia is an umbrella term that covers the many different types of underlying neurodegenerative diseases.

Each type of neurodegenerative disease has its own unique pattern and development in each person. Also, each person has a unique health profile. Some people may be relatively healthy and others may have several co-existing health issues. All of these factors play a role in the pace of decline in a person with dementia.

To answer more broadly, Alzheimers is the most common type of dementia. The average lifespan after the earliest symptoms is eight years. However, some people have lived as long as 20 years after an Alzheimers disease diagnosis.

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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.

Causes Of Frontotemporal Dementia

This is an important cause of dementia in younger people. It’s most often diagnosed between the ages of 45 and 65.

It’s caused by an abnormal clumping of proteins, including tau, in the frontal and temporal lobes at the front and sides of the brain.

The clumping of these proteins damages nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes, causing brain cells to die. This leads to shrinking of these areas of the brain.

Frontotemporal dementia is more likely to run in families than other, more common causes of dementia.

Read more about frontotemporal dementia.

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What Are The Most Common Forms Of Dementia

Our Guide to the Common Forms of Dementia can help you learn more about dementia and assist you in having a more in-depth conversation with your loved ones physicians and health care providers.

Dementia is often mistaken for a disease, but its a descriptive term for a variety of symptoms that impact a persons cognitive and social abilities. Dementia may be caused by a variety of diseases or even circumstances, some of which can be reversed.

There are many types of dementia, several of which share common symptoms. This diversity of types can make it challenging to determine which type of dementia is affecting your loved one.

How Many Types Of Dementia Exist

Types of dementia

There are hundreds of different types of dementia and dementia-like conditions. Dementia is a broad description of diseases and symptoms that cause damage or loss of nerve cells and their connectivity to the brain.

As a result of this broad definition, dementia can also include some more rare forms of dementia, disorders that are often linked with dementia, and even be confused with dementia-like symptoms that are associated with other conditions.

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Symptoms Of Vascular Dementia

Unlike Alzheimers where memory loss is the first sign, once the individual has had a major stroke or a series of mini strokes, certain symptoms will appear including:

  • Changes in personality
  • Loss of vision or other senses like smell or taste
  • Uncontrollable emotional behavior like laughing or crying
  • Uncontrollable body movements like hitting or grabbing

The individual will continue to age with some of these symptoms and may require assistance in activities of daily living.

How Common Is Dementia

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 5 million U.S. adults age 65 or older have Alzheimers and related dementia. By 2060, the CDC projects that about 14 million people will have dementia, which is about 3.3% of the population.

Alzheimers disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the fifth leading cause of death in Americans age 65 and older.

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Unique Symptoms Of Lewy Body Dementia

Unlike the other types of dementia, the primary identifying symptom of Lewy Body dementia is visual hallucinations which are not upsetting or stressful to the individual experiencing them. These typically involve seeing small people, like children, or animals. Sleep walking and acting out dreams are also common, as seen in some cases of Parkinsons disease.

Which Types Of Dementia Are Hereditary

Types of Dementia

Its true that genes might have a role in dementia, but the patterns of inheritance vary. Environmental and lifestyle factors also greatly affect our chances of developing a particular disease we may have inherited, so an active, healthy lifestyle is important to avoid many types of illness.

With that being said, current research shows that people who have a parent or sibling with Alzheimers are more likely to develop the disease than those who do not. There also is a difference between early-onset and late-onset, with the latter putting individuals at higher risk. Again, this research is still being developed and depends a lot on the health of the individual.

On the other hand, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and fronto-temporal dementia have not yet been linked to genetics in most cases. The genetic factors instead are linked more to the underlying causes of these dementias or the possibility of gene links to other aspects of these conditions. So out of the four common types of dementia, Alzheimers is the type with the most likely genetic link based on current research.

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Four Common Forms Of Dementia

Alzheimers disease is the most common type of dementia, infecting 5.8 million Americans, but this is not the only disease that may cause dementia.

The following are the four most common types of dementia:

  • Alzheimers Disease Alzheimers is characterized by the presence of plaques and tangles in the patients brain. Plaques are clumps of beta-amyloid protein, and tangles are fibrous tau protein. It is believed that these clumps and tangles damage healthy neurons and the fibers that connect them.
  • Vascular or Multi-Infarct Dementia The second most common form of dementia is caused by blood vessel damage that restricts blood flow to the brain. Some common symptoms include slowed thinking and difficulty with problem-solving.
  • Dementia with Lewy Bodies Lewy bodies are balloon-like clumps of protein that form on the patients brain. These clumps can also be found in the brains of Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease. Common symptoms include acting out ones dreams, visual hallucinations, and problems with focus and attention.
  • Frontotemporal Dementia This is a category of disease that is characterized by the breakdown of nerve cells and their connectivity to the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. This can lead to changes in behavior, personality, thinking, judgment, and language.

Getting Old Is Not Having A Disease

Be aware of the big differences between a normative aging process and a disease like dementia. Many do not recognize its appearance and attribute changes in the person to aging, when in fact disease is being expressed.

Therefore, the normal weakening of some mental functions is something that should not raise alarms. Fear of dementia is growing among the elderly population. The truth is that the problem should not be overestimated in any case, since the well-being of the person is much more than that.

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Senior Living Options For Seniors With Dementia

The initial stages of dementia are not usually debilitating, and it can be relatively easy to care for yourself at home and bring in a caregiver when you need more help. However, dementia eventually progresses into more serious symptoms like inability to eat and walk, and assisted living may then be a better option to help you enjoy life with Alzheimers disease and other dementias.

Assisted living facilities that specifically provide care for those with dementia are called memory care centers. Memory care facilities provide medical care for people with dementia and other services including:

  • Daily care in areas such as grooming, bathing, dressing, and eating
  • Healthy meals, often designed specifically to be dementia-friendly, including fruits and vegetables recommended by top researchers to help fight cognitive decline
  • Access to a wide variety of social activities, recreational activities, and specially designed areas to help people suffering from memory loss continue to engage in their lifelong passions like gardening, church, visiting local attractions, art, and more
  • Housekeeping services
  • 24-hour monitoring and a secured building to prevent wandering and other dangers

If youre ready to learn more about assisted living options for those living with a diagnosis of dementia, please reach out for information from our senior care experts here.

  • Category pages

Symptoms Of Alzheimers Disease

What is Dementia?

Mild

  • Problems recognizing friends and family
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Trouble following instructions or learning new information
  • Hallucination or delusions
  • Poor judgment

Typical age of diagnosis for Alzheimers disease: Mid-60s and above, with some cases in mid-30s to 60s

Typical age of diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia: Between 45 and 64

Typical age of diagnosis of Lewy body dementia: 50 or older

Typical age of diagnosis of vascular dementia: Over 65

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What Can I Expect If I Have Dementia

Getting a diagnosis of dementia is certainly difficult to hear. Several types of dementia arent reversible. Others are a side effect of other serious diseases. Some dementia-like symptoms are due to conditions that can be treated and reversed.

Your healthcare team, which will probably include a neurologist and/or a geriatric-psychiatrist or a geriatrician, will order the needed tests to make the correct diagnosis. The medications available today focus on slowing the decline.

The goal is to maintain your or your loved ones quality of life. Some people with Alzheimers dementia can live up to two decades, but each person has their own unique course. Researchers continue learning about the mechanisms that cause dementia and testing different methods to slow, and someday, hopefully, cure this disease.

What Are The 4 Most Common Types Of Dementia

Although dementia is a huge global health issue, a surprising number of people know little about the condition. In our latest blog we take a look at the 4 most common types of dementia in the UK.

Dementia affects around 850,000 people in the UK alone and the numbers continue to rise year after year, with statistics predicting at least 1 million people will be living with dementia by 2025. Although dementia has become a huge public health issue over the last few years, its a condition that is still widely misunderstood.

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Diagnosis For These Four Types Of Dementia

Symptoms can be similar among different types of dementia, and some people have more than one form of dementia, which can make an accurate diagnosis difficult. Symptoms can also vary from person to person. Doctors may ask for a medical history, complete a physical exam, and order neurological and laboratory tests to help diagnose dementia.

Caregiving : Understanding The Four Types Of Dementia

What are the different types of dementia?

Today, approximately 5.8 million people in the U.S. have dementia. Its no wonder so many caregivers are looking for tips on boosting seniors quality of life and finding activities for dementia patients

Only decades ago, people were still writing off dementiarelated behaviors to senility. Now researchers have an everincreasing understanding of the brain, which has allowed them to better identify new brain disorders, including the types of dementia.

Dementia is not a specific diagnosis on its own. Rather, dementia is a general term for any severe decline in mental abilities due to the brain’s physical deterioration. Not all types of dementia are the same.

There are four common forms of clinical dementia:

  • Alzheimers Disease

Let’s take a closer look at these common types of dementia.

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Can Dementia Be Prevented

Although dementia cant be prevented, living a health-focused life might reduce risk factors for certain types of dementia.

Keeping blood vessels clear of cholesterol buildup, maintaining normal blood pressure, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, staying at a healthy weight basically, staying as healthy as you can can keep your brain fueled with the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function at its highest possible level. Specific healthful steps you can take include:

  • Follow a Mediterranean diet, which is one filled with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fish and shellfish, nuts, beans, olive oil and only limited amounts of red meats.
  • Exercise. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
  • Keep your brain engaged. Solve puzzles, play word games and try other mentally stimulating activities. These activities may delay the start of dementia.
  • Stay socially active. Interact with people, discuss current events, and keep your mind, heart and soul engaged.

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