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Types of Dementia

Posted by Dustin DeTorres on October 16, 2014 at 6:32 AM

Dementia is often misunderstood. While dementia is often referred to as a condition, it is in fact a collection of symptoms that effect cognitive functions. Dementia is caused by damage to the cells of the brain. The cause of brain damage may influence the way that dementia symptoms affect the sufferer. Finding the root cause of dementia symptoms may also allow the underlying cause to be treated, in some cases. Approximately 20 percent of dementia causes are treatable.

Alzheimer’s Disease

The most common cause of dementia symptoms in seniors over the age of 65 is Alzheimer’s disease. Doctors are not sure of the exact causes of Alzheimer’s disease, but it is accepted that Alzheimer’s disease often occurs in patients that have particular genetic patterns and lifestyle factors in common. When Alzheimer’s is present, plagues and tangles can typically be found in the brain tissue which confirm the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Memory, language, judgment, movement, and behavior are all eventually affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Vascular Dementia

Another common cause of dementia is inhibited vascular function. Brain damage that leads to vascular dementia is generally caused by strokes or other vascular complications. Vascular dementia often affects motor functions, memory, and reasoning but usually does not affect emotions and personality.

Dementia Pugilistica

Also called Boxer’s syndrome, dementia pugilistica is caused by severe or repeated brain trauma. Dementia pugilistica often causes complications in motor functions such as tremors and difficulty walking. Specific symptoms may vary depending on what area of the brain was damaged.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

A genetic mutation causes Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. This disease typically affects seniors over the age of 60. Seniors affected by this type of dementia usually die about one year after symptoms begin to show. The disease causes personality changes and physical disorientation at the start. These symptoms are typically followed by sensory decline and sometimes a coma.

HIV or AIDS Associated Dementia

HIV and AIDS may infect the brain. The symptoms of HIV or AIDS associated dementia may vary depending on which areas of the brain are infected. Early symptoms often include apathy, withdrawal from social situations, and problems with memory functions.

Frontotemporal Dementia

Degeneration of nerve cells in the temporal and frontal brain lobes characterize frontotemporal dementia. Physicians are unsure of the exact causes of this type of dementia, but there is some evidence that it may be caused by genetic factors. This type of dementia often affects people between the ages of 40 and 65. Early symptoms include behavioral changes such as increased appetite, compulsiveness, and neglecting of responsibilities. Memory functions and motor skills may eventually be affected.

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Topics: Alzheimer's and Dementia

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