Dementia Action Week: Different Types of Dementia

Come with us to dive into the several types of dementia.

Dementia is a complex neurological condition that affects millions of people worldwide, robbing individuals of their cognitive abilities and impacting their daily lives in profound ways. While often used as an umbrella term, dementia encompasses a variety of underlying causes and manifestations.

Come with us to dive into the several types of dementia such as Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and more. Explain their unique characteristics, symptoms, and how they differ from one another.



Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is the most well-known form of dementia, accounting for most cases. It is characterised by the accumulation of amyloid plaques and tau protein tangles in the brain, leading to the progressive deterioration of memory, thinking skills, and eventually, the ability to conduct basic tasks. Alzheimer's typically begins with subtle memory loss and confusion, gradually worsening over time.


Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia results from impaired blood flow to the brain, often due to strokes or small vessel disease. This type of dementia can manifest suddenly following a major stroke or develop gradually because of multiple small strokes over time. Symptoms may include difficulties with planning, organisation, and reasoning, as well as mood changes and problems with walking or balance.


Lewy Body Dementia (LBD)

Lewy body dementia is characterised by the presence of abnormal protein deposits, known as Lewy bodies, in the brain. It shares symptoms with both Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, including cognitive impairment, visual hallucinations, fluctuating alertness, and motor symptoms such as tremors and stiffness. Individuals with LBD may also experience rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behaviour disorder and sensitivity to certain medications.


Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)

Frontotemporal dementia encompasses a group of disorders characterized by degeneration of the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Unlike Alzheimer's disease, which primarily affects memory, FTD often presents with changes in behaviour, personality, and language. Subtypes of FTD include behavioural variant FTD, semantic variant primary progressive aphasia, and non-fluent variant primary progressive aphasia.


Mixed Dementia

Mixed dementia refers to a combination of two or more types of dementia occurring simultaneously in the brain. For example, a person may have both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, leading to a more complex presentation of symptoms. Mixed dementia is not uncommon, especially in older adults with multiple risk factors for dementia.


Parkinson's Disease Dementia (PDD)

While Parkinson's disease primarily affects movement, it can also lead to cognitive decline and dementia in some individuals. Parkinson's disease dementia typically develops in the later stages of Parkinson's disease and is characterised by problems with memory, attention, and executive function, in addition to motor symptoms such as tremors and bradykinesia.


Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a rare and rapidly progressive form of dementia caused by prion proteins that fold abnormally in the brain. It leads to a rapidly worsening decline in cognitive function, along with neurological symptoms such as muscle stiffness, involuntary movements, and visual disturbances. CJD is usually fatal within a few months to a few years of onset.


Understanding the diverse types of dementia is crucial for accurate diagnosis, appropriate management, and compassionate care. While each type may present with its own set of challenges, early detection and intervention can help improve quality of life and support individuals and their families on their journey with dementia. As researchers continue to unravel the mysteries of the brain, we move closer to the day when effective treatments and a cure for dementia become a reality.

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