There are a variety of different kinds of dementia, but there are some that are more common than others. The most common and most well-known form of dementia would be Alzheimer’s. There are a few others that aren’t quite as well-known but are also common, though. These are vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia. Although all of these forms of dementia share similar signs and symptoms, those signs and symptoms often show up in a variety of ways. Another difference between these forms of dementia is the reason behind them. The changes that take place in the brain are different with each of these.
Keep in mind that a big difference between each of these forms of dementia is the cause behind the dementia. Dementia itself isn’t a specific disease but rather a combination of changes, particularly in the brain, that in turn affect the person’s behavior, reasoning, memory, and thinking.
According to Medical News Today, Alzheimer’s disease is caused by brain cell death and damage. The total brain size shrinks as nerve cells and connections are lost. The effects of this disease happen very slowly, and at first there aren’t any obvious signs of the disease.
Vascular dementia is a little bit different. With vascular dementia, there is a blocked or reduced blood flow to the brain, which deprives brain cells of oxygen and vital nutrients, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. This can eventually damage and kill cells anywhere in the body. Vascular dementia might progress quickly after a stroke or might progress very slowly. Smaller strokes can cause slower changes in the brain as well. The severity of the changes can range from mild to severe.
Depression is often present in those who have vascular dementia. If your loved one has suffered from a stroke, which is the most common risk factor for vascular dementia, keep this and other behavioral or thinking symptoms in mind. Pay special attention to any changes and bring them up as your loved one goes back to the doctor for screenings or routine check-ups.
Lewy body dementia affects approximately 1.4 million individuals in the United States, according to the Lewy Body Dementia Association. Lewy body dementia can refer to both Parkinson’s disease dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. Although the early symptoms of these two forms of dementia might be different, the changes that occur to the brain to cause these changes are the same.
It often takes a couple of years to officially diagnose a person with Lewy body dementia. It is possible, however, to significantly slow down or even improve symptoms once the diagnosis has been made and treatment has been provided.
Frontotemporal dementia usually specifically affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, according to the Mayo Clinic. In this from of dementia, these two lobes either atrophy or shrink. These are the lobes that determine a person’s behavior, language and personality, so a lot of changes occur when these two lobes are affected.
Symptoms might be extremely different in various individuals. However, some of the changes that will occur might include apathy, inappropriate behavior, changes in eating habits, or a decline in personal hygiene, just to name a few.
All forms of dementia bring with them changes in behavior and cognitive decline. If you begin to notice your loved one is experiencing some of these symptoms, the best thing you can do take note and mention these details to his or her doctor.