Around 55 million people suffer from dementia around the world. We all experience some cognitive decline as we age, but dementia refers to an accelerated form of this natural progression.
The best course of action for assisting patients with dementia is early diagnosis. So, if you’ve noticed that an elderly friend or relative doesn’t seem quite themselves, get them to see a doctor right away.
These are the most common types of dementia to look out for.
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This is the most common type of dementia and is prevalent in around 70% of cases. Early signs of this disease include:
- Short-term memory loss
- Poor judgment
- Difficulty finding the right words
Alzheimer’s is a slow-moving disease and progresses very slowly to the middle stage, where more severe psychological and behavioral symptoms occur.
While there’s no failsafe dementia treatment, engagement with others can help slow the progression of this disease. So, spending time in an assisted living respite care facility is an important part of caring for the elderly affected by Alzheimer’s Disease.
Types of Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Lewy bodies are abnormal deposits of protein, called alpha-synuclein, in the brain. These deposits disrupt brain chemicals.
Signs of dementia involving Lewy bodies include:
- Slow movements, weakness, and rigidity
- memory loss
- decrease in attention
- poor executive functioning
There are two kinds of Lewy bodies dementia.
Parkinson’s Disease is another one of the best-known kinds of dementia. In the case of this affliction, motor and mobility symptoms often occur for up to a year before cognitive decline begins.
Those caring for an aging parent with early-stage Parkinson’s Disease must take extra care to guard against falls at this time.
Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Since it stems from the same cause, dementia with Lewy bodies involves many of the same symptoms as Parkinson’s Disease.
Patients with this type of dementia develop the brain symptoms of dementia before body functions start to deteriorate. Usually, this type of dementia progresses gradually, but it’s highly unpredictable.
Vascular dementia results from small blood vessel changes, stroke, or ischemic events. Symptoms of vascular dementia include:
- Memory loss
- Word-finding difficulty
- Slow processing speed
- Executive functioning challenges
It has a step-like progression, which means the person may remain at one stage for a long time before progressing rapidly to the next.
This is an acute condition, most frequently related to alcohol abuse, and also known as a wet-brain syndrome. The symptoms of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome include:
- Changes in eye functioning and vision
- Decreased mental alertness
- Leg tremors
Immediate hospitalization and treatment with thiamine are the best options in these cases. Treatment does offer some hope of reversing the condition if the patient abstains from alcohol.
Knowing what to expect when it comes to the types of dementia can help you get treatment for your loved one sooner.
In some cases, early treatment can delay the most severe phases of dementia, or at least prevent serious accidents.
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