Non-Typical Types of Dementia
Most of us are at least vaguely familiar with Alzheimer’s disease. We would associate losing our way, forgetfulness, and confusion as typical symptoms. While it is true Alzheimer’s disease is the cause of 75% of all diagnosed dementias, there remains a large populace with other forms of dementia and their associated symptoms. Below, we will examine other, less typical forms of dementia.
7 Types of Non-Alzheimer’s Dementia
1. Vascular Dementia
After Alzheimer’s, the next most common form of dementia is Vascular Dementia. This form often begins with forgetfulness and is caused by brain damage from impaired blood flow to the brain. This is often, but not always, caused by a stroke. Problems with reasoning, planning, and changes in judgment are other early signs. Seniors can be vulnerable to scams and making poor choices like giving excessive money to people. The extent of the problems associated with this type depends on how extensive the brain damage is.
2. Parkinson’s Dementia
Parkinson’s researchers estimate up to 80% of those formally diagnosed with Parkinson’s will develop dementia. Typical signs of Parkinson’s dementia include depression, paranoia, mood swings, and speech difficulty. Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder and experts have found that nerve cell deterioration triggers the dementia.
3. Lewy Body Dementia aka Dementia with Lewy bodies:
Protein deposits, called Lewy bodies, form in the cortex of the brain. Attention was brought to this type of dementia when it was revealed that actor Robin Williams was diagnosed with Lewy bodies before his suicide in 2014. Some of the DLB signs and symptoms may include visual hallucinations and paranoia, movement disorders, cognitive problems like confusion and memory loss, and difficulty sleeping.
4. Fronto-Temporal Dementia or FTD
Some early signs of FTD include sharp changes in personality, speech problems, and repetitive compulsive behavior. Physicians sometimes have a difficult time diagnosing FTD, since those with FTD are typically younger when the symptoms begin to develop as compared to other forms of dementia.
5. Huntington’s Disease
Huntington’s Disease is inherited and results in the death of brain cells. Early symptoms can occur between the ages of 30 and 50 and include lack of coordination and mood changes. As the disease advances, uncoordinated, jerky movement is typical. Cognitive abilities deteriorate and decline into dementia. The disease may develop earlier in life with each successive generation.
6. Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (rare)
In simple terms, it occurs when extra fluid builds up and presses on different parts of the brain. Typical symptoms can mimic Alzheimer’s disease in forms like a decline in thinking skills, forgetfulness, and short-term memory loss. Loss of bladder control is one symptom that differs but this tends to appear somewhat later in the disease.
7. Mixed Dementia
Almost all dementia experts agree that when there is a diagnosis of one type of dementia the patient will typically develop other types as well. There are many crossover symptoms and treatments for these mixed dementias. The most common mix is Alzheimer’s and Vascular.