Types of Dementia, Symptoms, Causes, Stages & Treatment

Types of Dementia (1)

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While there are many types of dementia, we are considering ten common types of dementia with all the facts about the types of dementia, including the symptom, causes, stages, and possible treatments available.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is used to describe multiple symptoms that affect your memory, thinking, behavior, and social abilities. While symptoms of dementia at first can go undetected, they become more and more noticeable over time. While diseases cause dementia, it is not a disease; it is the result of a disease.

As you get older, dementia becomes more and more common. There are more than 55 million people currently diagnosed with dementia. About ⅓ of all individuals 85 and older have some form of dementia.

There are many different types of dementia, but Alzheimer’s Disease is the leading cause of it. Dementia symptoms vary from person to person.

Signs and Symptoms of Dementia

Signs and Symptoms of Dementia

Signs of Dementia develop when nerve damage is caused to the brain, which causes it to stop working correctly. While symptoms of dementia vary, some common symptoms include:

  • Memory loss
  • Poor judgment
  • Difficulty speaking (hard to find the right word to use)
  • Difficulty understanding others
  • Wanders more often
  • Gets lost more than normal
  • Repeating questions and statements
  • Losing things more often
  • Loss of balance
  • Changes in behaviour
  • Hallucinations
  • Loses interest in things they used to love
  • Daily tasks become more difficult

Stages of Dementia

Stages of Dementia

There are seven stages of dementia. These are categorized into three groups, early-stage dementia, middle-stage dementia, and late-stage dementia.

There are seven stages of dementia.

Stage 1- No Cognitive Decline

Stage 2- Associated Memory impairment

Stage 3- Mild Cognitive Impairment

Stage 4- Moderate Changes / Mild Dementia

Stage 5- Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline

Stage 6- Severe Decline

Stage 7- Very Severe Cognitive Decline / Late Dementia

 

Is Dementia A Disease?

No, dementia is not a disease. It is a syndrome that develops over time due to a disease.

We are breaking down all the facts about the 10 types of dementia, including the symptom, causes, stages, and possible treatments available.

What are 10 Types of Dementia?

The 10 types of Dementia are as follow:-

#1. Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. It is classified as a physical disease that affects the brain.

Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease

In the brain, billions of different nerve cells are connected together. Alzheimer’s disease develops when the connections are lost between the cells. This occurs because of proteins that build in the brain and form plaques and tangles. This causes nerve cells to die and brain tissue to be lost.

Alzheimer’s is progressive, which means symptoms will get worse over time. 

#2. Vascular Disease

Vascular Disease

Vascular dementia is a common type of dementia but not as well known. Vascular dementia can happen suddenly or gradually, depending on the cause.

Causes of Vascular Disease

Vascular dementia develops when the blood supply is reduced to the brain caused by narrowing or blockage in blood vessels. This causes the brain cells to be damaged. This can happen suddenly or gradually.

Example of happening suddenly: Occurs after a stroke that affects major blood vessels.

Example of happening gradually: series of small strokes that damage blood vessels with many small strokes.

Vascular Disease Symptoms

Symptoms of Vascular Dementia can include:

  • Memory Loss
  • Problems with communication
  • Disoriented
  • Changed in mobility 

 

#3. Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is the second most common type of progressive dementia. It occurs when protein deposits, known as Lewy Bodies, develop in your nerve cells. This then affects your thinking, memory, and movement. It is common to be affected by LBD dementia quickly.

Causes of Lewy Body Syndrome

When an abnormal amount of protein builds up on your nerve cells surrounding the brain, this is called Lewy Bodies. It is unclear when LBD develops in some individuals.

Symptoms of Lewy Body Syndrome

Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia can include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Changes in concentration and alertness
  • Sleep
  • Changes in behavior and mood
  • Changes in body temperature
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • See the complete list of Lewy Body Symptoms

There is no cure or treatment for Lewy Body Dementia. You can only do things to help manage symptoms, such as medication, therapy, counseling, and support groups.

#4. Parkinson’s Disease Dementia

Parkinson's Disease Dementia

It is common for people with advanced Parkinson’s disease to develop dementia. The early signs of dementia include poor judgment and problems with reasoning.

Causes of Parkinson’s Disease Dementia

Parkinson’s disease dementia is categorized as a decline in thinking and reasoning. This usually occurs at least one year after you have developed Parkinson’s.

When Parkinson’s Disease dementia is present, there are abnormal microscopic deposits composed of alpha-synuclein found throughout the brain. These are called Lewy Bodies. Studies suggest that Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s Dementia have the same underlying abnormalities in brain processing.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease Dementia

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease Dementia can include:

  • Changes in concentration
  • Poor judgment
  • Muffled speech
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Depression
  • Daytime Sleepiness

Treatments for Parkinson’s Disease Dementia

There are no treatments to stop or slow the damage that is caused by Parkinson’s disease dementia. Talk to your doctor regarding ways you can manage symptoms such as medications and deep brain stimulation.

#5. Mixed Dementia

Mixed Dementia

Mixed dementia is when an individual has two or more types of dementia. The most common combination of dementia is Alzheimer’s and Vascular. In about 10% of all dementia cases, they have more than one type of dementia. However, researchers suggest this number is much higher because you only know if you have mixed dementia if you have an autopsy done.

Symptoms of Mixed Dementia

Mixed dementia symptoms depend on what types of dementia are present.

Treatment for Mixed Dementia

There are no current treatments that can be done to slow or reverse the signs of Mixed Dementia. Usually, doctors suggest treatment plans based on the original dementia diagnosis.

While the 5 Dementia types above are the most common, several others can cause dementia as well.

These include:

  • Frontotemporal Dementia
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
  • Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

#6. Frontotemporal Dementia

Frontotemporal Dementia

Frontotemporal Dementia occurs when cell damage develops in the brain that controls planning, judgment, speech, movement, and emotions.

Causes of Frontotemporal Dementia

Frontotemporal Dementia is when there is damage to the frontal and/or temporal lobes of the brain. As damage occurs, it limits memory abilities and leads to personality, behavior, and mood changes.

Symptoms of Frontotemporal Dementia

Frontotemporal Dementia symptoms depend on which part of the brain is damaged.

Loved ones with signs of Frontotemporal Dementia may see the following:

  • Changes in personality
  • Struggles to find the right word to use
  • Movement challenges such as muscle spasms, balance issues, and shakiness.
  • Depression

Treatments for Frontotemporal Dementia

Currently, there is no treatment for Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). There are different therapy options available that can help manage some symptoms. If depression is present, medicine can be prescribed by a doctor.

Family members can become educated to help loved ones cope with different strategies to learn to manage FTD. You can also work with occupational therapists in your area that specialize in dementia. 

#7. Huntington’s Disease

Huntington's Disease

Huntington’s disease is a hereditary disease that is passed down by generation. It is a disease that is caused in your DNA, specifically in the Huntington gene. This gene, over time, causes damage to the brain. The Hungtington disease causes your mental, physical, and emotional abilities to deteriorate, usually between the years of 30 and 50; however, they can start to be present at age two or as late as 80. There is currently no cure for this disease.

Symptoms of Huntington’s Disease

There are many recognizable symptoms of Huntington’s Disease, but the most recognizable one is uncontrollable movement in your head, face, arms, and legs.

Other symptoms include:

  • A decline in thinking and reasoning
  • Poor judgment
  • Changes in mood
  • Depressions
  • Anxiety
  • Becoming more irritable
  • Obsessive-compulsive type behavior

Treatments for Huntington’s Disease

In 1933 scientists identified the defective gene. Since then, doctors can now do genetic testing to determine if individuals have a gene defect. This can be done before symptoms are seen if one or both presents are known to have Huntington’s Disease.

#8. Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is a rare disease that rapidly progresses in the brain. It is always fatal and usually occurs within one year.

Causes of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is a very rare condition.

The prions (proteins) cause the good proteins in your brain to fold into abnormal shares, causing dementia symptoms. These happen very quickly and rapidly get worse. This usually occurs in individuals with no known risk factors.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Symptoms

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease symptoms include:

  • Memory and concentration issues
  • Poor judgment
  • Depression
  • Jerky muscles
  • Trouble walking
  • Confusion
  • Mood swings

#9. Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus11

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus or NPH is a disease that causes an individual to have excess fluid built upon the brain’s ventricles. The brain needs just the right amount of fluid to work correctly, and when there is an excess of fluid, it adds too much pressure on the brain. The damage leads to dementia symptoms. According to John Hopkins Medicine, about 5% of dementia is caused by NPH.

What causes Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus?

Some of the potential causes of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Injury
  • Brain tumor
  • Previous brain surgeries

Symptoms of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Common symptoms include:

  • Balance issues
  • Forgetting more often
  • Mood changes
  • Depression
  • Falling often
  • Bowel / bladder issues

Suppose you think you or a loved one has Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus. In that case, you want to seek medical advice quickly before more damage occurs. This is one type of dementia that may be able to be fixed with surgery.

#10. Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is caused by not having enough B-1, leading to the lower part of your brain to bleed. While technically, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is not a form of dementia, it is often grouped with dementia because it has similar symptoms.

Causes of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is usually caused by vitamin deficiency in alcoholism. Itcan also be due to malnutrition or chronic infections.

Symptoms of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

Symptoms of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome may include:

  • Double vision
  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • Trouble processing information
  • Struggles to learn new things
  • Struggles to remember

Several other diseases may cause dementia in later stages. This includes loved ones with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and individuals with HIV.

It is essential to see your doctor if you notice symptoms of one of these types of dementia so that you can develop a treatment plan to manage your care and prepare for the future.

References

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