This is Part 2 of Leah Bisiani’s Understanding Dementia series – Read Part 1 here
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia. Alzheimer’s causes difficulties with memory, thinking and behaviour. The rate at which Alzheimer’s progresses differs for everyone, however it is progressive.
Vascular dementia is the comprehensive term for dementia related to complications regarding circulation of blood to the brain.eg. CVA.
Lewy Body disease is caused by the degeneration and death of nerve cells in the brain, due to the existence of abnormal spherical structures, called Lewy bodies, which develop inside nerve cells.
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is due to progressive damage to the frontal and/or temporal lobes of the brain. The right and left frontal lobes are involved in mood, social behavior, attention, judgement, planning and self-control. Damage can cause reduced intellectual capabilities and changes in personality, emotion and behavior.
Alcohol related dementia is a form of dementia related to the excessive consumption of alcohol. This affects memory, learning and other mental functions. Korsakoff’s syndrome and Wernicke/Korsakoff syndrome are particular forms of alcohol related dementia.
Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused when there is 3 reproductions of chromosome 21 in every cell body instead of the usual pair, upsetting the gene balance. This extra gene makeup causes an assemblage of characteristics which can result in differing grades of developmental delay and some common physical traits.
HIV associated dementia. If a person has human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) they may develop a complication which is known as HIV associated dementia, or as AIDS Dementia Complex (ADC).
Alzheimer’s dementia is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 50-70% of all dementia
There are two types of Alzheimer’s disease
Both types of Alzheimer’s Disease include progressive atrophy of the brain, and scarring of brain tissue.
Because of the destruction of brain cells, and consequent cognitive decline, the person living with dementia gradually loses skills and abilities, with major changes in memory and behaviour.
Specialised care, including care specifically orientated to the individual, enables a person living with dementia to lead a more uplifting and empowering life for much longer.
The course of Alzheimer’s Disease is approximately 7 – 12 years, however, there is no typical presentation.
There are 3 major changes that are caused by Alzheimer’s Disease:
Although great advances have been made in understanding the brain pathology of A.D., the cause remains unknown.
There are thoughts and research in various fields that may lead to breakthroughs in the future.
It is important to appreciate that these suggested factors do not necessarily establish cause but may only represent links with the disease.
The single greatest risk factor for A.D. is age
A.D may be a disease of the brain, but most of the symptoms are changes in behaviour.
It is important to remember that these changes in behaviour are part of the disease and NOT a deliberate attempt on the persons part to be difficult.
Family and friends may notice the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other progressive dementias before the person experiencing these changes.
If you or someone you know is experiencing possible symptoms of dementia, it is important to seek a medical evaluation to find the cause.
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