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7 Types Of Dementia And How To Identify

Care24 Administrator Conditions, Dementia, Elder Care

Dementia is not just a disease, but a broader term that refers to various mental health conditions that often cause problems with memory and movement. Check out some of the different types of dementia so that you can provide timely care as and when required.

1. Alzheimer’s Disease

It is one of the most common types of dementia, with almost 60 to 80 percent dementia cases being that of Alzheimer’s. In Alzheimer’s, the patient will face issues with memory, as well as the ability to think. It also causes various behavioral changes. The memory lapses caused in Alzheimer’s are so severe that they can interfere with a person’s daily routine. While earlier it was thought that Alzheimer’s is a normal progression as one ages, it has been found that the disease can also affect those who are younger than 65. In fact, early or younger onset Alzheimer’s can also affect someone as early as in their 40s or 50s. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are different cures available for the various symptoms.

Signs: Problems in remembering recent conversations, forgetting names or events, depression or feeling sad all the time, problem in communicating and speaking, confusion, mood swings, problems with eating, swallowing and walking.

2. Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is a type of neurodegenerative brain disorder which progresses slowly over time, sometimes taking years to move on from the earliest symptoms to the next. Those who are affected with this disease are able to live on for many years without too many disabilities. While the condition in itself is not life-threatening, the symptoms it can lead to can often be serious and even turn fatal. Some of the earliest symptoms can show up around the 50s and 60s, but often, the disease triggers way earlier. While there is no cure for Parkinson’s, there are different cures available for the various symptoms.

Signs: Difficulty in movement and stiffness in muscles and joints, tremors, trouble walking or balancing, difficulty in rolling over in the bed or getting out of bed, problems with facial expression, feeling light-headed or dizzy while standing, problem in swallowing and eating.

3. Frontotemporal Dementia

Frontotemporal Dementia, also known as FTD, is a type of degenerative condition that affects the front part of the brain. The areas affected by this condition are the ones that are responsible for movement, speech, personality, behaviour, language and even some parts of memory. In most cases, frontotemporal dementia occurs within the age range of 40 and 65, but can also happen earlier.

Signs: Drastic changes in personality and behaviour, lack of emotional connect and understanding with others, lack of facial expressions, sudden excitement and inappropriate actions while singing or dancing, inability to comprehend moral or sexual conduct leading to misconduct, difficulty with thinking and judging, compulsive behaviour, difficulty in following routine or schedule, problems with motor skills and sleep pattern.

4. Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s Disease is a type of hereditary brain disorder that has no cure, and causes progressive damage to various parts of the brain. It is a type of condition in which the nerve cells of the brain get damaged and lead to deterioration in various parts of the brain, making the patient entirely dependent on others for every activity. Some of the earliest signs appear between 35 and 55 years of age. As of now, the medications are aimed at controlling the symptoms, instead of taking care of the main cause of the disease.

Signs: Mood changes, depression and behavioural issues, difficulty in movements and problems in controlling movements, problem with walking, stumbling, problems with vision, short term memory lapse, problem in focusing and concentrating.

5. Mixed Dementia

As the name suggests, Mixed Dementia is a type of condition in which there are signs of more than one type of dementia at the same time. It is also known as ‘dementia multifactorial’ in the medical world. Mixed dementia will often show signs of three types of dementia, namely Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia and Lewy bodies dementia. While it is difficult to diagnose instantly if a person has mixed dementia, it often comes up post-life when an autopsy is performed. In some cases, it can also be diagnosed if a person shows signs of Alzheimer’s but also has some form of heart problem. At present there is no known cure for mixed dementia, but some medications used for Alzheimer’s often provide some relief with the symptoms.

Signs: Same as those of Alzheimer’s.

6. Vascular Dementia

Vascular Dementia is the second most common types of dementia, after Alzheimer’s. The condition happens when there is a problem with blood supply to the brain because of damaged blood vessels. Some of the key areas that get affected with vascular dementia are cognition, making it difficult for the patient to continue smoothly with daily life. In most cases the condition is difficult to diagnose. Those who have suffered a stroke or suffer from high blood pressure or cholesterol are at a high risk.

Signs: Problem in remembering things, confusion, vision problems, speech and communication problems, problem with walking, headaches, feeling numb or partial or severe paralysis.

7. Dementia With Lewy Bodies

Similar to the case with Mixed Dementia, Dementia With Lewy Bodies is a type of dementia that shares the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It makes up about 10 to 15 percent of the total cases of dementia. In many cases, Dementia With Lewy Bodies, also known as DLB, is wrongly diagnosed as Alzheimer’s. While it usually occurs after the age of 65, it can also affect people earlier.

Signs: Affects mental capabilities, hallucinations, difficulty in movement, problems with sleep, constipation, urinary incontinence, loss of sense of smell.