Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities that is severe enough to interfere with daily life. While Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, it is not the only kind. Below is a list of other types of diseases that can also affect brain health.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies: A type of dementia caused by abnormal clumps of proteins called Lewy bodies that damage brain cells. Symptoms include changes in thinking, visual hallucinations, slowness and stiffness of movements, tremors, and acting out of dreams.
Parkinson’s disease Dementia: A decline in thinking and reasoning that develops in someone diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease due to damage to brain cells by Lewy bodies. Symptoms are similar to dementia with Lewy Bodies.
Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD): A group of dementia’s caused by a loss of brain cells, due to damage by a protein called tau, in the front and side areas of the brain. These areas of the brain control personality, behavior, and language. Typical symptoms include changes in personality, behavior, and problems with language. Most people with FTD are diagnosed at a younger age (40-60) than other types of dementia.
Vascular Dementia:A type of dementia caused by blocked blood flow to the brain. Changes in thinking can occur suddenly following a stroke or get worse over time due to many small blockages. Symptoms depend on the part of the brain affected, but often include confusion and problems paying attention. Risk factors include high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, heart disease, and a family history.
Mixed Dementia: A condition in which changes in thinking and memory are linked to more than one type of dementia. This most frequently occurs when Alzheimer’s disease coexists with vascular dementia, but can also occur with Lewy bodies.
Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus: A disorder in which there is a buildup of fluid in the brain. Symptoms include problems with thinking, difficulty walking, and loss of bladder control.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: A rare, fatal brain disease caused by the abnormal folding of proteins in the brain, known as prions. These abnormally folded prions destroy brain cells leading to a rapid decline in thinking, as well as unusual muscle movements, difficulty walking, and mood changes.
Huntington’s Disease: A brain disorder caused by an abnormal gene located on chromosome 4. Symptoms include unusual muscle movements, problems with thinking and reasoning, and changes in mood.
Posterior Cortical Atrophy: A loss of brain cells in the part of the brain located in the back of the head, an area that is responsible for visual information. Symptoms include blurry vision that is not improved with glasses and difficulty with visual tasks. Some patients may also develop problems with attention and memory.
For more information on Alzheimer’s disease and these other types of dementia visit Types of Dementia from the Alzheimer’s Association.