Hallmark Carehomes
Different Types Of Dementia: Understanding The Differences

17 December 2019

Different Types Of Dementia: Understanding The Differences

Dementia refers to a number of conditions that effect the brain, which all have different causes, symptoms and progression rates. This disease has different impacts and experiences for every individual, with it deteriorating faster for some than others. Despite the main symptoms including memory loss and difficulty thinking and problem solving, there is much more to dementia than there might seem, it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation as there are different types of dementia.

What Is Vascular Dementia?

After Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia is the second most common types of dementia. This is a result of a reduced supply of blood to the brain because of diseased blood vessels. For cells to be healthy that are able to function correctly, they require a constant supply of blood in order to bring nutrients and oxygen to the brain. If the vascular system in the brain gets damaged, the blood will be unable to the reach any brain cells, which will eventually die. As a result of this, the individual will begin to have problems with their reasoning, thinking and memory, otherwise known as cognition.

Vascular dementia has a number of different variations, which differs depending on the part of the brain that is impacted and the cause of the damage in the first place. Stroke-related dementia occurs when the blood supply to an area of the brain is cut off. This is due to the blood vessels becoming narrow and blocked by a clot from a stroke. Post-stroke types of dementia are a result of the brain being starved from oxygen and a large amount of the brain tissue dying. Even though a large percentage of people won’t develop vascular dementia after a stroke, around a fifth will.

If the small blood vessels in the brain develop thick walls and become twisted, the blood flow is reduced and can result in subcortical vascular dementia, the most common types of dementia (after Alzheimer’s) and the symptoms are different from stroke-related dementia.

What Is Frontotemporal Dementia?

Otherwise known as frontal love dementia and Pick’s disease, frontotemporal dementia occurs when the nerve cells in the lobes of the brain are damaged. For this type of dementia, chemical messengers between the nerve cells can also get lost and over time more of these cells die and the brain tissue shrinks. These frontal lobes are used for problem solving, planning, emotions and behaviour, so when an individual has frontotemporal dementia, their personality and behaviour will change. This type of dementia is usually diagnosed to those aged between 45 and 65, but this can fluctuate above and below these ages.

What Is Mixed Dementia?

If someone has mixed dementia, this means that the individual has more than one type, which tends to be vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. For those with these types of dementia, the symptoms can vary, depending on the two types of dementia that they have and if one is more predominant. Mixed dementia can be a combination of two types of dementia, and sometime even three, but this isn’t as common. With there currently being no cure for any type of dementia, there are some treatments and medications that can delay the process and work to maintain better cognitive function for a longer period. Despite this, the treatment doesn’t stop the damage that is happening in the brain. Cholinesterase inhibitors can be used to boost the chemical levels in the brain to improve communication, but for those with vascular dementia, there isn’t any medication available at present.

What Is Young-Onset Dementia?

People under the age of 65 are described as having young-onset dementia, and require different support due to their age, as well as showing different symptoms. This type of dementia tends to be caused similarly to other forms of the diseases; however younger people are more likely to have a rarer form. Those who have young-onset dementia will end up having problems with their mobility, balance and co-ordination. It has been found that those with young-onset dementia have inherited it from a parent. The causes of these types of dementia are also usually the same as what causes dementia in someone older.

What Is Dementia With Lewy Bodies?

Dementia with Lewy Bodies, also known as DLB, shares the same symptoms as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, which is why it is sometimes mistaken as just being Alzheimer’s disease. Lewy Bodies, named after the German doctor who discovered them, are very small deposits of protein that are found in the nerve cells of the brain. It’s currently unknown why they appear or their contribution to dementia, but there are connections between them; low levels of chemical messengers between nerve cells and loss of connection between nerve cells. The symptoms of dementia with Lewy Bodies begins with slight effects, which gradually get worse and have an impact on day to day living. These symptoms usually include the same symptoms of both Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, as well problems with mental abilities, hallucinations, delusions, sleep disturbance and movement.

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Renowned as the most common type of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is the result of connections between the cells in the brain being lost and having fewer chemical messengers, so signals are not passed on. This type of dementia is progressive, so over time more and more symptoms develop and worsen, as more parts of the brain get damaged further. There are different stages to Alzheimer’s disease as it deteriorates, meaning the symptoms get worse, from misplacing items to not being able to remember close family members and friends, as well as everyday objects. Those with Alzheimer’s disease will require more and more care as it progresses, so many family members decide to provide them with care and help at care homes near them with years of experience caring and helping those with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.

Despite only outlining a number of types of dementia, hopefully this has provided you with a better understanding of the most common different types of dementia. If you would like more information, get in touch with our professional and helpful team at Hallmark Care Homes, today.