According to Kenneth Lang, nearly 10 percent of people over the age of 65 have Dementia. Although there are several types of Dementia, some are more common than others. Here are five of the most common types of dementia.
“Dementia” is the umbrella name given to several diseases caused by degeneration or changes in the brain. The effects of these changes are usually an impairment in specific cognitive abilities (i.e memory, language, and decision-making skills). While Dementia could affect young people, it’s most common among the elderly.
Alzheimer’s is a neurological degenerative disease—a condition that causes the death of brain cells. These brain cells are usually the ones needed for cognitive reasoning, language, and memory. Its symptoms include loss of memory, loss of the ability to walk or speak. Alzheimer’s is the major cause of dementia and also the major cause of senile dementia.
Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia and is caused by a lack of flow of blood to the brain. This lack of flow can be caused by damage or degeneration of the blood vessels supplying blood to the brain—known as the vascular system. Symptoms include an inability to perform tasks and a reduction in cognitive abilities.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies
Lewy bodies are protein deposits found in the nerve cells of the brain. These deposits interrupt chemical messages passed between nerve cells leading to a loss of connection between the affected nerve cells. The position of Lewy bodies also affects symptoms experienced. People experience cognitive problems when Lewy bodies are located at the outer layers of the brain.
Frontotemporal dementia affects the temporal lobes in the brain. These areas are responsible for reasoning, behavior, recognition of words and faces, and control of emotions, hence this type of dementia is characterized by a lack of inhibition, compulsive behavior, loss of speech, and inability to remember common words. People between the ages of 45-65 are most prone to this and is as a result of damage to these areas or a change in neural pathways between these areas of the brain.
Mixed dementia occurs when a person suffers from more than one type of dementia simultaneously. Alzheimer’s and Vascular dementia are the two most common combinations of dementias that mixed dementia patients suffer from. Symptoms of this dementia depend on the contributing diseases with one being predominant. This type of dementia usually affects people over 75 years.
Dementia can affect anyone and it doesn’t have to be the end of life. It can be managed through professional help and medicine.