The Complete Guide to Dementia and Its Types

Dementia is a term used to define symptoms that lead to a person’s memory loss and the ability to perform, think, work, remember reasoning, language, and behavior in society. It later affects essential brain parts, such as the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus—both of these parts of the brain help in performing our daily activities. Hence, weakening these brain parts affects the person’s everyday life.

The Complete Guide to Dementia and Its Types

How dementia could affect your daily life?

Dementia can affect your daily work and life big time. It involves little things at the early stages, such as being unable to make your bed or having trouble doing your laces. Moreover, having difficulty recognizing the names of your close friends and family members can be pretty astonishing and troublesome for a person with dementia which can cause insomnia and anxiety, leading to depression.

So it’s better to seek medical help when you notice these early minor signs of dementia. If you are an adult living all on your own and see such changes in your personality, waste no time telling a friend or a family member. So, they arrange a personal home care assistant for you.

What are the different types of dementia?

Listed below are the different kinds of dementia. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, and there’s a 60 to 80 percent chance that a dementia patient has Alzheimer’s disease.

Most people think of dementia as Alzheimer’s.

1. Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia. Its symptoms include memory loss, trouble identifying familiar things, and forgetting the names of close family members or friends. Like most dementia types, it also has stages; and if not controlled by medicines, it can deteriorate. This type of dementia can be inherited, and family history can significantly cause this disease.

The following examples may help in identifying Alzheimer’s disease at an early stage,

  • Forgetting the way to your neighborhood
  • Constantly forgetting the names of very close family members
  • Having trouble doing everyday work
  • Forgetting the past
  • Repeating a thing that was done a few minutes before
  • Forgetting what was said a few moments ago.
  • Having trouble identifying, judging, communicating, remembering, etc.

 2. Vascular dementia

People diagnosed with this type of dementia have a history of brain injury, a severe stroke, mini-stroke, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. This also results in vascular dementia. Unlike Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia starts with difficulty communicating, decision-making, organizing things, etc.

This type of dementia cannot be cured, but it can stop it from worsening. If another stroke occurs, it can worsen.

The following examples help in identifying vascular dementia at an early stage,

  • Trouble identifying,
  • Trouble organizing everyday things,
  • Trouble communicating,
  • Getting confused while speaking
  • Depression
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Not being able to control urine
  • Difficulty in planning, ordering and analyzing a situation

3. Frontotemporal dementia

The person with Frontotemporal dementia has established damage in brain cells, resulting in difficulty speaking and judging, etc. The person with this disorder may sometimes burst out with emotions and nasty words to lose control.

Frontotemporal dementia

The following examples help in identifying frontotemporal dementia at an early stage,

  • Sudden personality variations
  • Trouble with language skills,
  • Losing control over emotions,
  • Having trouble maintaining balance
  • Trouble moving,
  • Sudden shivering in the body

4. Huntington’s Disease

    Like a vascular disease, Huntington’s disease also becomes a cause of dementia, resulting from family history. It is inherited from a close family member and shows symptoms right after your 20s.

    People with Huntington’s disease get the same symptoms as other dementia;

    • Loss of concentration
    • Loss of memory,
    • Trouble organizing, planning, and managing situations

    5. Lewy body dementia (LBD)

    Lewy body dementia happens when very unusual protein deposits into the brain. These proteins are microscopic and cannot be seen by the naked eye. This abnormal procedure disrupts natural brain activities such as memory loss, slowing down everyday activities, and much more.

    Lewy body dementia (LBD)

    Following activities can help identify LBD at an early stage,

    • Performing everyday tasks slowly, such as eating for hours
    • Forget what they have said
    • Blanking out or constantly getting zoned out
    • A person with severe LBD may have hallucinations as well
    • Having dreams where you act out in sleep, kicking, punching, walking, etc.

    6. Mixed dementia

      This type of dementia is a combination of two or more diseases, generally Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.

      Mixed dementia is found mainly in people over 70 – 80 as they have suffered a stroke and usually have high blood pressure, etc. They have the same symptoms as seen in Alzheimer’s and vascular diseases.

      More causes of dementia

      Scientists have found more diseases that cause dementia or symptoms similar to dementia. These include

      More causes of dementia Description
      HIV-associated dementia As the name suggests, it happens when the HIV virus spreads to the whole body and gets to the brain. It damages the brain’s normal functioning, such as walking, talking, speaking, language, emotions, memory loss, etc.
      Chronic traumatic encephalopathy This disorder has not yet been studied that well, but it is mainly caused by any trauma, brain, or head injury.
      Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease This disease has almost the same symptoms as the one in Alzheimer’s. It is caused when brain proteins transform into abnormal shapes and deform.
      Argyrophilic grain disease This disorder occurs due to the weakening of the brain and other organs.
      Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome It is caused by a shortage of vitamin b1 in the body and usually in people with heavy drinking problems.
      Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus This sort of disorder is curable, caused by a liquid build-up in the brain; once the liquid is drained out, it can be cured.

      As seen above, it is difficult to identify how many different types of dementia, some as many diseases and disorders that lead to dementia. Not every type of dementia can be cured, but everything becomes more manageable if dealt with love and care.

      Is dementia an illness, disease, or disorder?

      Dementia, also known as Major Neurocognitive Disorder (MND), is the deterioration of cognitive domains; information, perception; application; examination, combining; and assessment. Dementia is not a disease; somewhat a general term, a collection of some symptoms that affects a person’s memory. Dementia has Its types, and they vary in symptoms and severity; some contain hope of curability; however, others can be managed, and their deterioration process can be slowed down.

      Disease

      Experts define the disease as a disorder in the normal functioning of any organ. Specific causes and symptoms follow it. The disease is related to particular symptoms and reasoning.

      Disorder  

      As the word suggests, any part of the body’s disrupted functioning is called a disorder.

      Syndrome 

      The syndrome is a set of different medical conditions and symptoms that may correlate and are often related to a disease or disorder.

      Hence dementia is considered a syndrome, a collection of states, symptoms, and disorders.

      Planning As Much As Possible

      Finally, when preparing for life after a dementia diagnosis, it’s essential to plan as much as possible so your loved one will continue receiving high-quality care even if their condition changes quickly over time. Consider researching local respite options and adult day care centers that can provide short-term relief for family caregivers and ensure that your loved one receives professional care. At the same time, you take breaks from your role as a caregiver. Ultimately, being proactive about managing caregiving responsibilities will give you and your loved one peace of mind during this challenging process.

      Conclusion: 

      Dementia, in short, is a loss in Cognitive Functions and the ability to think, remember and reason about something. To prevent this, it is advised to take less red meat, alcohol, caffeine, butter, and fried and fast food.

      Moreover, eating more green leafy veggies, exercising, avoiding smoking, and keeping your mind and body active also prevent dementia.

      Apart from this, people who lack vitamin D and B-17 are more likely to develop symptoms of dementia.

      A dementia illness can be a scary thing. It can raise many questions and concerns and make you feel like you have no control over the situation. But it is important to remember that while there is no cure for dementia, there are treatments available that can help manage its symptoms. Providing specialized care for dementia disease is the best solution, as caregivers are well-trained to deal with patients.

      Tanner Gish

      Tanner Gish (Certified Dementia Practitioner, CDP®) is president of Loving Homecare, chapter leader of the Foundation for Senior Services, and community educator on topics relating to home care, aging, dementia, and the relationship between adult children and their aging parents. He is also a Gallup certified Strengths Coach, and he loves empowering the Loving Homecare care team to overcome challenges and to build deeper relationships through Strengths-based coaching. He has his master’s degree in New Testament Theology and bachelor’s degree in International Business from Biola University. Tanner and his wife live in Historic Uptown Whittier, California where both love serving their community, escaping to Northern California to visit their families, and traveling to visit friends living and working overseas as much as possible.

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