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About Dementia
Types of Dementia

The term dementia refers to a chronic, usually progressive problem of cognition that usually affects memory and almost always affects judgment, decision-making and relationships with others. Two things make dementia into a syndrome and not just the memory complaints that most of us have. First, other parts of cognition are affected usually language, but also attention and concentration, the ability to do simple calculations, or to draw (for example, to draw a clock).

There are many types of dementia, but the most common is Alzheimer's disease. Other types of dementia are diagnosed based on some of their characteristic findings. Because Alzheimer's disease is so common, it is often useful to contrast the other dementias with Alzheimer's disease. Most of the other problems seen in these other dementias are also seen in Alzheimer's disease. What happens in the other dementias is that they are seen out of order' in comparison to what we see with Alzheimer's disease. For example, many people with Alzheimer's disease eventually have trouble walking, but this is a late sign. When someone with dementia is seen to have a problem with walking early in the course of their illness, that suggests another cause, such as vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson's disease dementia, or some types of frontotemporal dementia.

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Last updated July 17, 2014
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