Types of Dementia
- By Graeme Brown
- Jan 31, 2018
While most people have heard of dementia, what many people do not realise is that there is more than one type of this condition. Each has its own symptoms and causes or contributing factors. The most common types of dementia include Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies. It is essential that anyone who works with individuals diagnosed with dementia understand the differences between these conditions. Here is an overview of the different types of dementia.
With 60% of cases diagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease, this is the most common form of dementia. It is named after Alois Alzheimer as he was the first person to describe the pathology of the disease. Proteins build up in the brains of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and this damages the cells and affects the connections between them. Typical symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include memory loss, problems with speech and language, disorientation, confusion and changes in personality.
This is the second most common type of dementia as it accounts for 17% of cases. Damage to the blood vessels in the brain leads to a reduction of blood supply to certain areas of the brain and this causes the death of cells. The symptoms of vascular dementia vary from one person to the next depending on which areas of the brain are affected. However, common symptoms may include memory loss, difficulties with language, and a reduced capacity for problem-solving.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies
The exact number of people with dementia with Lewy bodies is not known but it is estimated at around 10 to 15% of cases. In terms of numbers, this means that over 100,000 people in the UK are believed to suffer from this disease. The disease is named after neurologist Frederick H. Lewy who worked alongside Alois Alzheimer. Abnormal deposits of a protein called a-synuclein, are deposited in the nerve cells of those suffering from this form of dementia. These deposits are called Lewy bodies and they are the underlying cause of several progressive diseases that affect the nervous system and brain, including both Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. The symptoms associated with dementia with Lewy bodies vary depending on the part of the brain affected. However, they can include problems with memory, tremors, difficulties with thought processes, and hallucinations.
This type of dementia accounts for approximately 2% of dementia cases and is sometimes called frontal lobe dementia or Pick’s disease. It is caused by changes to the nerve cells in the frontal or temporal lobes. The frontal lobes are the parts of the brain responsible for control of emotions, speech, and problem-solving. Temporal lobes are responsible for recognising faces or objects and remembering words. Whether the frontal lobes, the temporal lobes or both areas of the brain are affected will impact on the symptoms experienced.
Other Types of Dementia
In addition to the main types of dementia, there are also other less common forms of dementia and diseases that can cause similar symptoms as dementia. Some of these include Wernicke-Korsakoff’s dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and the dementias associated with Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. It is also possible for an individual to have diagnoses of more than one type of dementia. For example, at least 10% of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are also diagnosed with vascular dementia.
Learning More About Dementia
It is important that anyone who supports individuals with dementia is fully aware of the different types of this condition and has a comprehensive knowledge on how to support these individuals to the best of their ability. One way of doing this is by undertaking relevant training that will give them the necessary underpinning knowledge of the condition and related issues. If you are interested in undergoing such training, you can contact us at createcare.co.uk.
We would also like to promote a local event which is taking place to support the Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK Lancashire, and Dementia Friends. Home Comfort Services is hosting an afternoon of coffee, music, and reminiscences at the Forget-Me-Not Café in Lytham on Thursday, 1st February 2018. If you would like to support this event, you can find out more here: