Top Causes of the Different Types of Dementia
Brian SheridanJun 20th, 2022
An Alzheimer’s disease or dementia diagnosis can be jarring for families touched by these conditions. It’s perfectly natural to ask about how the person might have contracted dementia, what type they have, and wonder what the future holds for their loved one.
I thought it might be helpful to look at the different types of dementia, their most likely causes, and how placement in Memory Care can help your loved ones have the best quality of life possible throughout their dementia journey.
What is dementia?
Dementia is not so much a disease as it is a group of symptoms that present as a loss of memory and other cognitive skills. It’s typically caused by damage to or a loss of nerve cells and how they connect to the brain.
Family and friends often see the signs of dementia before the afflicted person does. Some markers include the loss of cognitive skills such as memory, judgment, attention, mood stability, communication, decision-making, and trouble completing routine tasks such as bathing, cooking, cleaning, and more.
People may also notice challenges maintaining relationships, functioning at work, and participating in social activities, or severe mood changes and negative behavior such as anger, frustration, fear, or confusion, especially when their altered worldview is challenged.
Although research is ongoing, there is currently no cure for dementia or the underlying symptoms that cause it. Medication and specific therapies can help slow the progression of the symptoms, especially early in the process. Many researchers also believe that some lifestyle changes can be modestly helpful as well.
What are the causes of dementia?
Several underlying conditions cause the various types of dementia, almost all related to degenerative diseases or conditions in the brain.
Let’s look at the most common underlying conditions that lead to the various types of dementia.
Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia. Most researchers believe that some cases are related to mutations of three genes, which can be passed down genetically. The two types of brain-attacking proteins that lead to Alzheimer’s are plaques (beta-amyloid) and fibrous tangles (tau protein).
Alzheimer’s presents itself as issues with memory, changes in mood, difficulty communicating and concentrating, problems performing routine tasks, and more.
Lewy body dementia
The second-most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease is Lewy body. People with this type of dementia may have difficulty concentrating or staying alert. They may also experience signs consistent with Parkinson’s disease, such as difficulty with movement, rigid muscles, and body tremors, although not everyone with Parkinson’s will contract dementia.
The protein deposits that cause this condition are known as Lewy bodies. These deposits grow in the nerve cells located in the part of the brain involved in memory, thinking, and motor control. This can lead to symptoms such as visual hallucinations, changes in blood pressure, digestive issues, depression, apathy, and poor sleep behavior.
Frontotemporal is an umbrella term for a set of relatively rare brain disorders that affect the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. These lobes control an individual’s personality, behavior, and speaking function. In many cases, the person will display significant changes in their personality that can lead to socially inappropriate behavior, impulsiveness, or emotional distancing.
More uncommonly, some affected by this type of dementia may display symptoms parallel to Parkinson’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), such as tremors, muscle spasms, rigidity, difficulty swallowing, and more.
Some people contract vascular dementia following a stroke that blocked an artery in the brain, although strokes don’t always lead to vascular dementia. This type of dementia can also result from the brain being deprived of vital oxygen and nutrients due to conditions that harm blood vessels and reduce circulation.
Vascular dementia is associated with memory, judgment, planning, and reasoning problems due to impaired blood flow to the brain. Signs include trouble concentrating, confusion, indecision, poor memory, reduced analytical judgmental skills, and agitation.
When someone suffers from a combination of several types of dementia, they are said to have mixed dementia. Mixed dementia adds another dimension to identifying symptoms, determining treatment, and coping on a day-to-day basis.
How Memory Care helps people with dementia
Many families nobly take on care duties for their loved ones. However, dementia is a progressive condition that gets worse over time. Eventually, the afflicted person will need full-time, 24-hour care that few families can provide.
Memory Care provides a viable solution to help people with any type of dementia get the support they need to have the best quality of life possible. Memory Care staff use specialized and proven methods of communicating with people diagnosed with dementia, using patience and empathy with every interaction.
The apartments in Memory Care are designed for easy navigation and include enhanced security measures to ensure everyone is safe and accounted for at all times.
Support is available with the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as dressing, showering, and medication management. Activities are designed for cognitive stimulation that helps the person be confident and successful in their interactions with staff, other residents, and family.
Memory Care communities provide the best environment for people with dementia to thrive, relax, and experience happiness on a day-to-day basis in a supportive environment made just for them.
No-cost help finding quality Memory Care in Northeast Florida
Many families find navigating the world of senior living can be daunting and confusing, especially if they’re doing it alone or for the first time.
That’s why families looking for Assisted Living or Memory Care in Northeast Florida call Brian Sheridan of Assisted Living Locators. Brian and his team will take the time to get to know your elderly loved one’s needs, wants, and requirements and present a list of best-fit options that suit their lifestyle. With Brian on your side, you’ll have all the information you need to make the most informed decision possible.