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Understanding Different Types of Dementia

A Patient with Dementia
Dementia is not a disease that you can pigeon-hole. While many of the symptoms may appear exactly the same on the surface, dementia comes in many forms. On the surface, many forms look exactly alike.
In order to provide adequate care, the loved ones of dementia patients strive to understand dementia and the people who have it even if they are not planning to operate in a medical capacity because they will be able to better care for their loved one if they understand the disease.
Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. More than five million people in the U.S. live with Alzheimer's, which accounts for about 60–80% of all cases of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is progressive and grows worse. However, medication can ease some of the symptoms associated with the condition.
The most common symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease include memory loss and difficulty solving problems. People with Alzheimer's may also struggle with language use. Some people even notice entire personality changes in their loved ones.
Vascular Dementia
The second most common type of dementia, vascular dementia, is often the result of a stroke leading to a low supply of blood to the brain. Additionally, vascular dementia is linked to blocked and damaged blood vessels. 15–20% of dementia patients are diagnosed with vascular dementia, making it the second most common form of dementia.
Vascular dementia's symptoms include impaired judgment and difficulty making decisions. Patients with this condition might find it increasingly difficult to plan ahead or organize objects. These patients may also struggle to develop new memories.
Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disease linked to deteriorating nerve cells. The condition is often associated with dementia because dementia is actually a symptom. Specifically, Parkinson’s disease impacts the parts of the brain that produce a chemical called dopamine. The condition is progressive, similar to Alzheimer's, meaning it will worsen over time.
Symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease include disturbances in sleep patterns, stiff muscles, and tremors. Additionally, patients may experience amnesia, anxiety, changes in speech, and confusion in the evenings.
Huntington's Disease
Huntington's disease often appears early in life, typically between the ages of 30 and 50.  The condition is hereditary, passed down from generation to generation. Ultimately, Huntington's leads to nerve cells breaking down. While there is no cure for the condition, medication can provide some relief.
Huntington's is often linked to loss of ability to control the movement of the face and limbs. The movements are often abnormal and involuntary. Many of the cognitive declines are similar to those of Alzheimer's, linked to losses in thinking and reasoning abilities.
Other symptoms of Huntington's disease include irritability, depression, and other changes in mood. These changes often include emotional shifts that can range from anger to happiness. The effects are also physical, meaning that it may become difficult for these patients to eat and speak.
Creutzfeldt - Jakob disease
Creutzfeldt - Jakob disease is a rare but typically fatal form of dementia. Mad Cow Disease is one form of Creutzfeldt - Jakob disease. But the condition can also be hereditary. Most forms are sporadic, however, meaning that they don’t have a reason for occurring. Most symptoms of Creutzfeldt - Jakob disease typically occur after the age of 60.
Symptoms associated with Creutzfeldt - Jakob disease include impaired memory and loss of coordination. Additionally, this condition is associated with amnesia, muscle contractions, disorientation, anxiety, depression, and jerking muscle spasms.
Tri Valley Personal Home Care offers compassionate and professional care suitable for your loved ones. We understand that your loved ones may not necessarily require medical care but still need some assistance living at home.