Despite the fact that 850,000 people in the UK are currently living with dementia, our understanding of its different forms still has a long way to go.
As well as enhancing our knowledge of the causes of dementia, we must also be clearer on the different types of dementia. Channel 4’s documentary last week on Pick’s Disease, in which comedian David Baddiel provided great insight into his father’s condition, drew attention to a form of dementia that is less common to many.
Here are 7 different kinds of dementia, and the symptoms most commonly associated with them:
This is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of cases. It develops gradually as protein plaques form in the brain, causing memory loss, impaired cognitive ability and language difficulties. As a result, those living with Alzheimer’s can have trouble recalling recent events, struggle with general forgetfulness, and can show a lack of organisation, judgement and good decision-making.
2) Vascular Dementia
Rather than gradual decline, this form of dementia is characterised by quicker deterioration, as a result of small strokes and blood vessel blockages that can cause brain cell damage. Though a period of recovery often follows, initial symptoms include impaired language and communication, as well as poor judgement and decision-making. This is the second most common form of dementia.
3) Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB)
The third most common form of dementia, DLB, can cause a lack of control over body movement, leading to falls and shuffling while walking. Visual and auditory hallucination may also be a result, alongside increased confusion and nightmares. DLB symptoms result from clumps of protein preventing effective communication between brain cells.
4) Frontotemporal Dementia (Pick’s)
This type of dementia is more uncommon and can be difficult to diagnose. Damage at the front of the brain, just behind the forehead, can cause behavioural and personality changes which lead to a decrease in inhibition, lack of judgement, and speech problems. It is more frequent in younger people, aged 45-65.
Advanced Parkinson’s often leads to dementia. Those living with Parkinson’s may experience difficulty in comprehending visual information, and remembering how to perform simple daily tasks and routines. In addition, they may display signs of depression, paranoia and become easily irritable.
This is an extremely rare form of dementia, with only 1 in 1 million people being diagnosed in the UK each year. Caused by abnormal infectious proteins in the brain, this condition progresses rapidly. Symptoms are similar to other forms of dementia, including agitation, depression, confusion and memory loss.
7) Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome
Caused by a lack of vitamin B-1 and bleeding in lower sections of the brain, Wernicke’s Disease often gives way to Korsakoff Syndrome, which causes difficulty in processing information, learning new skills and remembering things.
It is also important to note that 45% of people living with dementia experience a form of mixed dementia. The most common combination is Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
Gracewell Healthcare provides high-quality residential care and assisted living, nursing and specialist dementia care services, as well as respite care. To find a Gracewell home or for more information, contact us today.