For the majority of individuals, Alzheimer’s disease is the initial condition they consider when the word dementia is uttered. This is very understandable as this degenerative brain condition is the most common form of dementia. Which are the umbrella terms memory loss, loss of language, and other thinking abilities. That is severe enough to disrupt the everyday life of individuals. However, Alzheimer’s disease is nowhere close to being the only one.
There are ultimately hundreds of varying conditions that could result in issues with speaking, walking, and comprehension, personality changes, and confusion. Not to mention the loss of memory. Dementia in simple terms means that the brain is not functioning as it should. There are types of dementia that are treatable, some of which are reversible, and others that there are limited options for. Determining which form of dementia an individual has might be scary, however, it is very vital that early detection and identification is done. Early, accurate detection and diagnosis could assist the individual in making lifestyle changes that would potentially retard the disease’s progression.
As stated, this is the most common form of dementia. It is reported to impact approximately sixty to eighty percent of all individuals with dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is said to be a result of tangles and plaques which form in the brain. These then destroy the brain cells and the connections between them. The majority of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease begin noticing symptoms as they enter into their sixties and seventies, sometimes even later. However, in roughly five percent of the cases, symptoms begin appearing at a younger age.
During the initial stages of the disease, individuals will start experiencing forgetfulness and begin repeating things numerous times during the conversation. This is known as mild cognitive impairment. They also find it difficult to retain new information. At times it has been reported that sufferers get confused performing simple tasks or becoming lost in familiar locations. As the progression of the disease continues, individuals might find it challenging to determine the time of day it is. They may also have difficulty following a conversation and might even forget the names of family members and friends.
This is thought to be the second most prominent form of dementia, as it accounts for fifteen to twenty percent of all cases in the United States. Vascular dementia happens when the flow of blood to parts of the brain is blocked off. Thus, prohibiting oxygen from reaching the neurons and destroying or damaging the brain cells. Typically, this occurs after a massive stroke or after a series of small strokes. These are referred to as TIAs or transient ischemic attacks. It has also been reported to occur as a result of a brain hemorrhage.
Or even from blood vessels narrowing as a result of atherosclerosis, when arteries are blocked with cholesterol or fat. When the person suffers from diabetes or high blood pressure as well. Individuals that are sixty-five years and over are the most affected, what is more, is that the risk amplifies with age. The symptoms differ depending on the stroke’s severity and the section of the brain that was impacted.
Initial indicators could include challenges with language, inappropriate emotional outbursts, inability to pay attention, and inefficient judgment and planning. Symptoms could then progress to lack of bladder control, depression, impaired motor skills, confusion, memory loss, and even hallucinations.
Lewy Body Dementia
This disease impacts close to 1.5 million Americans, with the majority being over the age of fifty years. This form of dementia, a protein known as alpha-synuclein accumulates as clumps, referred to as Lewy bodies, in nerve cells. This happens in the section with responsibility for thinking, motor control, and memory. Lewy Body Dementia is connected to Parkinson’s disease, whereas the alpha-synuclein proteins build up initially in the section of the brain which controls movement.
Visual hallucinations and delusions are hallmarks of this disease. Individuals might begin to act out their dreams or see things that are not there. The disease impairs memory, the ability to process information and plan activities. It also impacts alertness and attention. Physical symptoms might also manifest such as issues with walking, tremors, and rigid muscles.
This is a much less common form of dementia, only affecting close to 60,000 individuals within the United States of America annually. That being said, it is the most common form of dementia for individuals that are under the age of sixty years. Several kinds of dementia are encompassed in frontotemporal dementia. However, what they all share in common is different proteins attack the brain’s temporal and frontal lobes. Sections that are responsible for motor function, language, and behavior.
Due to the fact that frontotemporal dementia begins in the frontal lobe, the individual becomes more apathetic or aggressive. They might also showcase a lack of empathy and may even use language that is inappropriate, sometimes acting out sexually. Individuals that suffer from frontotemporal dementia might also find that they have weird food cravings and eating patterns.
Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
This is one of the forms of dementia that can be treated successfully. It happens when excessive cerebrospinal fluid collects in the ventricles of the brain. As these ventricles become bigger, they could disrupt the brain tissue in close proximity. This disease can be treated using surgery that would drain the fluid from the brain into the abdomen. It is reported that roughly 700,000 individuals within the United States suffer from Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus.
Even though it is misdiagnosed as normal aging, Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s disease. There are three key symptoms that manifest during the stages of the disease. These are cognitive issues, difficulty walking and balance, and urinary incontinence. Sometimes it includes challenges performing tasks and making decisions, mood changes, and short-term memory loss.