Beyond Alzheimer's: 7 Other Types of Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease is an illness that most adults are at least somewhat familiar with. The symptoms most people associate with Alzheimer’s are forgetfulness and getting lost. But while Alzheimer’s disease accounts for nearly 75 percent of all dementia diagnoses, there are other forms of dementia, too. Below, we take a look at seven additional types of dementia and the symptoms of each.
7 Less Common Forms of Dementia
1. Vascular dementia: This is the next most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s. It is caused by a disruption of blood flow to the brain and is often the result of a stroke. Forgetfulness is a common symptom.
Another early sign of vascular dementia is a change in judgment. A senior who has always been responsible with money, for example, might begin buying unnecessary expensive items or fall victim to a financial scam. The condition can vary in severity depending on how extensive the damage to the brain is.
2. Parkinson’s dementia: Researchers say 50–80 percent of adults who have Parkinson’s disease will end up developing dementia, too. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder, so experts say the deterioration of the nerve cells in the brain is what leads to Parkinson’s dementia. Paranoia, delusions, forgetfulness, mood swings, depression, and speech problems are all signs of Parkinson’s dementia.
3. Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB): The suicide death of actor Robin Williams was linked to his diagnosis of Lewy body dementia. The illness occurs when protein clumps form in the cortex of the brain. Symptoms of DLB might include insomnia, balance problems, paranoia, memory loss, hallucinations, and uncontrolled movement.
4. Frontotemporal dementia (FTD): Two early signs of FTD are speech problems and a change in personality. Because people with FTD are usually younger at the time symptoms begin to develop than with other forms of dementia, it often takes physicians longer to reach a diagnosis.
5. Huntington’s disease: This brain disorder is an inherited condition where symptoms usually begin to appear between the ages of 30 and 50. The most common symptoms are cognitive decline, loss of control of the arms, legs, and face, and psychiatric issues.
6. Normal pressure hydrocephalus: While rare, this is another form of dementia with symptoms that are similar to Alzheimer’s disease, including memory loss and balance problems. It occurs when fluid builds up in the brain. One distinguishing symptom is a loss of bladder control.
7. Mixed dementia: Many dementia researchers believe that when an adult is diagnosed with any form of dementia, they likely have or will develop another form of it, too. The most common combination of mixed dementia is Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
Safety and Security for Adults with Dementia
Adult children and spouses often seek information about how to keep a loved one with dementia safe, so we created a series of educational videos. Click here to watch and learn more.