Alzheimer’s Disease and 4 Other Common Types of Dementia

Posted on: 27/09/2021

As World Alzheimer’s Month is focused on raising awareness about dementia, we wanted to use it as an opportunity to explore some of the most common causes of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Dementia is the umbrella term used to describe a group of symptoms related to the progressive decline of brain functioning…

Not all dementia is the same and, despite memory loss being one of the most commonly associated symptoms, you will see that symptoms vary depending on the type of dementia.

We hope that the information below will help you to spread awareness with friends, family, colleagues and anyone else you know so that they can begin to understand dementia better.

Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition caused by a build-up of proteins (amyloid) in the brain. The first symptom you will usually notice is minor memory problems, such as forgetting the names of people, places and objects or forgetting recent conversations.

As it progresses, some of the other signs and symptoms include:

  • Confusion and disorientation, which can lead to becoming lost
  • Changes in personality and mood
  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Hallucinations
  • Difficulty with movement

These symptoms will also worsen as the condition progresses.

Vascular dementia
Vascular dementia is caused by problems with the blood supply to the brain. Unlike Alzheimer’s, memory loss isn’t usually the main early symptom of vascular dementia.

Instead, the most common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty with concentration, planning, organisation, problem-solving or decision-making
  • Slower train of thought
  • Problems with following processes, such as preparing a meal

As with Alzheimer’s disease, someone with vascular dementia may also experience speech and language difficulties, and changes in their mood.

Lewy body dementia
Lewy body dementia is caused by masses in the brain known as Lewy bodies (a build-up of proteins that are also associated with Parkinson’s disease). Signs and symptoms include:

  • Visual hallucinations
  • Memory problems, such as memory loss, confusion and difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty with movement, including symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease such as shuffling, rigid muscles and tremors
  • Problems with certain bodily functions, such as blood pressure, sweating and digestion
  • Difficulty with sleep

Frontotemporal dementia
Frontotemporal dementia is caused by a build-up of proteins around the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Behaviour and personality changes
  • Difficulty with concentration, planning, organisation, problem-solving or decision-making
  • Difficulty with language and speech
  • Memory loss, which tends to occur later on

Mixed dementia
Mixed dementia occurs when someone has more than one type of dementia, most commonly Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia.

The signs and symptoms will depend on the types of dementia the person is experiencing, but they will be a combination of the different types listed above.

As you can see, whilst there is some cross over, there are key differences between the different types of dementia and so not everyone’s dementia journey will be the same.

Whatever type of dementia you or your loved ones are experiencing, help and support are available to allow you to remain comfortably independent for as long as possible.

Click here to learn more about the different options available!