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The Different Types of Dementia Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


Experts estimate that Alzhei­mer's disease is the underlying cause of -- of all dementia cases. However, there are many other conditions which can also cause dementia, which makes it vital for the patient to obtain accurate diagnosing of dementia early on in order to get proper treatment. Following are some of the most common types of dementia and their causes.

1. Vascular Dementia

The second most common form of dementia, vascular dementia is caused by poor blood flow to the brain, which deprives brain cells of the nutrients and oxygen they need to function normally. One of the ten different dementia types, vascular dementia can result from any number of conditions which narrow the blood vessels, including stroke, diabetes and hypert­ension.

2. Mixed Dementia

Sometimes dementia is caused by more than one medical condition. This is called mixed dementia. The most common form of mixed dementia is caused by both Alzhei­mer's and vascular disease.

3. Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB)

Sometimes referred to as Lewy Body Disease, this type of dementia is charac­terized by abnormal protein deposits called Lewy bodies which appear in nerve cells in the brain stem. These deposits disrupt the brain's normal functi­oning, impairing cognition and behavior and can also cause tremors. DLB is not reversible and has no known cure.

4. Parkin­son's Disease Dementia (PDD)

Parkin­son's disease is a chronic, progre­ssive neurol­ogical condition, and in its advanced stages, the disease can affect cognitive functi­oning. Not all people with Parkin­son's disease will develop dementia, however. Dementia due to Parkin­son's is also a Lewy body dementia. Symptoms include tremors, muscle stiffness and speech problems. Reasoning, memory, speech, and judgment are usually affected.

5. Fronto­tem­poral Dementia

Pick's disease, the most common of the fronto­tem­poral dementia types, is a rare disorder which causes damage to brain cells in the frontal and temporal lobes. Pick's disease affects the indivi­dual's person­ality signif­ica­ntly, usually resulting in a decline in social skills, coupled with emotional apathy. Unlike other types of dementia, Pick's disease typically results in behavior and person­ality changes manife­sting before memory loss and speech problems.

6. Creutz­fel­dt-­Jacob Dementia (CJD)

CJD is a degene­rative neurol­ogical disorder, which is also known as mad cow disease. The incidence is very low, occurring in about one in one million people. There is no cure. Caused by viruses that interfere with the brain's normal functi­oning, dementia due to CJD progresses rapidly, usually over a period of several months. Symptoms include memory loss, speech impair­ment, confusion, muscle stiffness and twitching, and general lack of coordi­nation, making the individual suscep­tible to falls. Occasi­onally, blurred vision and halluc­ina­tions are also associated with the condition.

7. Normal Pressure Hydroc­ephalus (NPH)

Normal pressure hydroc­ephalus involves an accumu­lation of cerebr­ospinal fluid in the brain's cavities. Impaired drainage of this fluid leads to the build-up and results in added pressure on the brain, interf­ering with the brain's ability to function normally. Indivi­duals with dementia caused by normal pressure hydroc­ephalus often experience problems with ambula­tion, balance and bladder control, in addition to cognitive impair­ments involving speech, proble­m-s­olving abilities and memory.

8. Huntin­gton's Disease

Huntin­gton's disease is an inherited progre­ssive dementia that affects the indivi­dual's cognition, behavior and movement. The cognitive and behavioral symptoms of dementia due to Huntin­gton's include memory problems, impaired judgment, mood swings, depression and speech problems (espec­ially slurred speech). Delusions and halluc­ina­tions may occur. In addition, the individual may experience difficulty ambula­ting, and uncont­rol­lable jerking movements of the face and body.

9. Wernic­ke-­Kor­sakoff Syndrome

Wernic­ke-­Kor­sakoff syndrome is caused by a deficiency in thiamine (Vitamin B1) and often occurs in alcoho­lics, although it can also result from malnut­rition, cancer which have spread in the body, abnormally high thyroid hormone levels, long-term dialysis and long-term diuretic therapy (used to treat congestive heart failure). The symptoms of dementia caused by Wernic­ke-­Kor­sakoff syndrome include confusion, permanent gaps in memory, and impaired short-term memory. Halluc­ina­tions may also occur.

10. Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Dementia can be due to medical illness, medica­tions and a host of other treatable causes. With mild cognitive impair­ment, an individual will experience memory loss, and sometimes impaired judgment and speech, but is usually aware of the decline. These problems usually don't interfere with the normal activities of daily living. Indivi­duals with mild cognitive impairment may also experience behavioral changes that involve depres­sion, anxiety, aggression and emotional apathy; these can be due to the awareness of and frustr­ation related to his or her condition.