Dementia is the broad name for a number of different diseases or conditions affecting the brain, all of which are characterized by memory loss, problems with reasoning, depression, confusion and anxiety. Many people associate dementia with old age, but in fact there are many different types of dementia, as can be seen by the following types of dementia list:
Types of Dementia List:
Alzheimer’s Disease: by far the most common type of dementia, Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease characterised by a gradual worsening of the symptoms as brain cells die in ever increasing numbers. The disease is known to have many causes, including hereditary factors, lifestyle and general health, but although it can affect people of any age, it is more common in people aged 65 and over.
Vascular Dementia: vascular dementia is normally the result of damage to the brain caused by a stroke, but it can also be the result of disease related damage to small blood vessels in the brain. Any interruption in blood supply to brain cells, whether by a stroke or other disease, causes brain cells to eventually die. When this happens, the symptoms of vascular dementia soon become evident. Binswanger’s Disease is a very rare form of vascular dementia caused by damage to blood cells in the deep part of the brain. It is often associated with hypertension and mainly affects older people.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies: this form of dementia is found in around ten percent of old people and is very similar to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease in its characteristics. The disease is a progressive one caused by small protein deposits in nerve cells, which affect the normal functioning of the brain.
Frontal-temporal Dementia: included in this category of dementia is Pick’s Disease. This is a relatively rare form of dementia characterised by damage to the frontal and/or temporal lobes of the brain. The disease tends to affect personality and behaviour rather than memory and is more common in younger people. It is usually hereditary, but in non-hereditary cases, the causes are as yet unknown.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: symptoms of dementia are caused by “prions” attacking the central nervous system. Prion disease causes spongiosis (holes in the brain tissue), which results in neurological damage and dementia. Prion disease is an extremely rare cause of dementia and within this category, CJD accounts for the vast majority of cases.
Huntingdon’s Disease: Huntingdon’s is a progressive hereditary disease with symptoms of dementia developing at any stage in the disease. Symptoms include short-term memory loss and deterioration in organisational skills.
Korsakoff’s Syndrome: this is a type of alcoholic dementia caused by heavy drinking damaging the nerves cells in the outer layer of the brain, which leads to a form of dementia. Unlike other types of dementia, the effects are reversible.
Parkinson’s Disease: patients suffering from Parkinson’s have a higher risk of developing dementia. The causes are not fully known, but it is believed that Lewy bodies could be the cause of dementia in Parkinson’s patients, although many of the drugs prescribed to Parkinson’s patients can also exacerbate dementia symptoms.
Dementia can also be caused by a severe vitamin B12 deficiency as a result of pernicious anaemia or severe bowel problems, or through brain damage as a result of an accident or injury.