Dementia is a broad term that encompasses several different types of memory impairments. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most well-known form of dementia, but there are others that carry symptoms that affect a person’s cognitive abilities as well as his or her competency to complete everyday tasks.
Symptoms of Dementia
One of the most common symptoms of dementia is memory impairment or memory loss. However, memory loss does not mean a person is suffering from dementia. In fact, mild memory loss is a common sign of old age, but to receive a diagnosis of dementia, there are other factors to consider such as memory loss that leads to confusion and consistent forgetfulness. Other symptoms of dementia can include:
- Forgetting the names of family members and other people you know
- Difficulty recalling important events
- Not recognizing familiar places
- Unable to perform or have a difficulty performing calculations
- Not keeping up with personal grooming habits
- Difficulty exercising judgement, for instance not knowing what to do in an emergency
- Difficulty carrying out tasks such as following a recipe, completing a puzzle or writing a letter
- Having trouble expressing thoughts or names of items
- Inability to control moods; may become more paranoid, agitated or depressed
Various Types of Dementia
Dementia is caused by changes in the brain. When different parts of the brain get damaged, various types of dementia emerge. They are categorized several different ways, usually by grouping them by the particular features they share. Dementia is classified by its progressiveness or what parts of the brain are affected. The common types and classifications of dementia include:
Cortical dementia: The brain’s outer layer or cortex is affected. Problems ensue with language, memory, social behavior and thinking. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common example of cortical dementia.
Subcortical dementia: The area below the brain’s cortex is affected. Besides memory impairment, this type of dementia causes changes to an individual’s moods, emotions and movement. Huntington Disease and Parkinson’s Disease are two examples of this type of dementia.
Multi-Infarct dementia (vascular dementia): Both parts of the brain are affected; it is the second most common cause of dementia, with Alzheimer’s Disease being the first. This type of dementia is brought on as a result of mini-strokes or transient ischemic attacks. Individuals at risk for this type of dementia are those with a history of diabetes, hypertension, stroke and atherosclerosis.
Progressive dementia: This type of dementia gradually gets worse over time, slowly hampering cognitive and intellectual abilities. Alzheimer’s Disease and vascular dementia are examples of progressive dementia.
Primary dementia: This is a dementia that is not a result of any other disease; Alzheimer’s Disease is an example of primary dementia.
Secondary dementia: This type of dementia is a result of a physical injury or disease; chronic alcohol or drug abuse, brain tumors or infections and metabolic disorders such a vitamin B12 deficiency. Many types of secondary dementia are treatable.
Only a doctor can diagnose a patient’s dementia. If you or a loved one is concerned about the well-being of an elderly person who is showing any of these symptoms, contact his or her physician immediately. While most dementia is not curable, its progress can be delayed with medication or types of therapy.
For More Information
A Senior Care Advisor from We Know A Place can also help your family find elder care for dementia patients. For more information, call (800) 500-Place or visit weknowaplace.com