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Understanding the Different Types of Dementia


Posted on July 27, 2009 by Dementiaguide

Different Types of Dementia

Other conditions aside from Alzheimer's can causedementia

Many of us forget common things such as our neighbor's names or what items to pick up at the market. We wonder if this is part of normal aging or the early signs of dementia. Before you get too concerned, know that there are many treatable conditions that may be contributing to memory loss.

Often when we think of types of dementia, we think of Alzheimer's disease. While Alzheimer's disease is considered to be the underlying cause of many dementia cases, there are also other conditions that might cause dementia. It is important to know about the other types of dementia andtheir causes because treatment can varyamong diseases and early detection can be beneficial in slowing the progression ofcertain dementias. As always, remember your doctor is the best person to speak with regarding these concerns. Some of the most common types of dementia, other than Alzheimer's disease,and their causes are:

Vascular Dementia

This type of dementia is the second most common next to Alzheimer's. It is caused by poor blood flow to the brain, depriving brain cells of the nutrients and oxygen they need to function normally. Vascular dementia can be caused by any number of conditions which narrow the blood vessels, including stroke, diabetes and hypertension.

Dementia with Lewy Bodies

Sometimes called Lewy Body Disease, this type of dementia is characterized by abnormal protein deposits called Lewy bodies that develop in nerve cells in the brain stem. This disrupts the brain's ability to function normally and impairs cognition and behavior. It is not reversible and there is no known cure.

Parkinson's Disease Dementia

Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive neurological condition, and in its later stages can affect cognitive functioning. Not all people with Parkinson's disease will develop dementia. Symptoms include tremors, muscle stiffness and speech problems. Reasoning, memory, speech, and judgment are also usually affected.

Frontotemporal Dementia

Pick's disease is the most common and recognized form of frontotemporal dementia. It's a rare disorder which causes damage to brain cells in the frontal and temporal lobes. This affects the individual's personality significantly, usually resulting in a decline in social skills, along with emotional apathy. Unlike other types of dementia, Pick's disease usually results in behavior and personality changes occurring before memory loss and speech problems.

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Many types of dementia can be due to illness, medications and a host of other treatable causes. With mild cognitive impairment, an individual will experience memory loss, and sometimes impaired judgment and speech, but they are usually aware of this decline. These problems usually do not interfere with the normal activities of daily living. Individuals with mild cognitive impairment may also experience behavioral changes that involve depression, anxiety, aggression and emotional apathy.

There are many other types of dementiaother thanAlzheimer's. Knowing which type of dementia that needs to be treated is paramount for correct therapy, treatment and medication.

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