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Understanding the types of Dementia: By Amanda Williams, DO
April 1, 2015

According the Alzheimer’s Association, “dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.”

Dementia develops when the parts of the brain that are involved with learning, memory, decision-making, and language are affected by infections and/or diseases. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It accounts for 60-80% of all cases of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s causes brain cells to die. Symptoms begin slowly and steadily become worse. As the disease progresses, symptoms range from slight forgetfulness to significant impairments in judgment, thinking, and the ability to perform daily activities. Ultimately, individuals may require total care.

Vascular Dementia is the second most common cause of dementia. It’s caused by lack of blood flow to the brain. Vascular dementia can happen as you age and/or after a stroke. The location and severity of the stroke(s) determine the symptoms and seriousness of the symptoms that arise. Symptoms typically begin abruptly and progress in a step-wise fashion with repeated strokes. At this time, there is no way to reverse damage that has already been caused by a stroke. However, treatment to prevent further strokes is very important.

Other types of dementia worth mentioning are:

·         Lewy Body dementia

·         Advanced Parkinson’s disease with dementia

·         Frontotemporal dementia

·         Mixed dementia (i.e. both Alzheimer’s and Vascular)

If you are someone you know is showing signs of decreased mental ability, please contact your family physician to schedule an evaluation.

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