News ID: 198536
Published: 0839 GMT August 13, 2017

What are the different types of dementia?

What are the different types of dementia?

Dementia is a term used to describe a range of symptoms which can include memory problems, issues with thinking and communication.

There are a number of different types of dementia — but there are five main types people should know, reported.

Dementia can be caused by Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia which can be caused by a stroke or dementia with Lewy bodies.

Frontemporal dementia and Creutzfeldt - Jakob disease are also forms of dementia. But what are they, how are they caused and what are the symptoms?



What is Alzheimer’s disease?


Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, affecting an estimated 500,000 people in the UK.

It is a progressive disease which means it gets worse over time.

The disease causes a loss of connection between nerve cells in the brain which can also lead to a loss of brain function.

Current research argues the disease is caused by a built up of proteins in the brain which are commonly known as ‘plaques’.




The earliest symptoms of the disease are lapses in memory — which caused by damage to the hippocampus, the center of emotion, memory, and the nervous system.

People with the disease can also struggle with planning, get confused about the time of day or lose track of time.

It can also cause personalities to change, react in unexpected ways and cause people with the disease to repeat themselves.


What is vascular dementia?


Vascular dementia is a form of dementia which affects more than 150,000 people in the UK, however it can affect people in different ways — with symptoms developing suddenly after a stroke, or more gradually after an illness.

Symptoms occur when the brain is damaged because of problems with blood supply to the brain.

It can be caused by the narrowing of the blood vessels inside the brain, or a stroke, which causes the blood supply to the brain to be cut off, usually as a result of a blood clot.

While not everyone who has a stroke will develop vascular dementia, the Alzheimer’s Society said one in five people who have a stroke will develop post-stroke dementia within the following six months.

The condition can be caused by a series of mini strokes which cause damage to the brain.




Symptoms can vary depending on which part of the brain is affected.

A person in the early stages of vascular dementia may also have difficulties with memory, language and the ability to perceive objects properly.

Mood changes can also be a key symptoms of the condition. Some people experience mood swings — rapidly becoming unhappy or tearful. It is not uncommon for some to experience depression or anxiety as a result of the illness.


Dementia with Lewy bodies


Dementia with Lewy bodies — also known as DLB is a type of progressive dementia, which means it gets worse over time.

It shares some of the same symptoms with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease — both neurodegenerative conditions.

The first symptoms of DLB can be fairly slight but can get worse and affect begin to affect people on a day to day basis.

The condition is believe to affect more than 100,000 people in the UK.




Symptoms include problems with memory and judgement, feeling faint and developing tremors and slow movement.

It can also cause disrupted sleep and changes to people’s sleeping patterns.


What is frontotemporal dementia?


Frontotemporal dementia is one of the less common types of dementia.

The condition is sometimes called Pick’s disease or frontal lobe dementia.

The condition occurs when nerve cells in the frontal lobes of the brain die, and the pathways which connect these lobes change. As more nerve cells die, the brain tissue in the lobe shrinks.




Symptoms can vary depending on which part of the brain is damaged.

The most common is behavioral variant FTD which can cause people to lose inhibitions, lose interest in people or things, lose symptoms, show repetitive behavior or crave fatty or sweet foods.
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