Dementia in its many forms is a very real part of today’s society and, whilst work is continually being carried out in the search for a cure, awareness and knowledge of the condition is still sadly lacking. Dementia is the general term given to a serious loss of memory or cognitive function and capabilities, but there are, in fact, many different kinds.
This guide is here to answer any simple questions you may have about dementia and its different forms, from the most widely talked about, such as Parkinson’s disease, to the lesser known Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Having Parkinson’s disease often leads to the development of Parkinson’s disease dementia; this happens when changes to the brain are directly caused by Parkinson’s. The main changes that can occur are reduced memory and the inability to pay close attention and make clear judgements.
Lewy bodies are microscopic deposits found in the brain of a person who suffers from dementia, and these are also found in Parkinson’s sufferers whose brain function starts to deteriorate. These Lewy bodies are present in other forms of dementia as well, and research has found that these types of dementia could possibly be linked to abnormalities in the brain processing alpha-synuclein, which is a type of protein.
Vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s effects between 60 and 80 percent of people suffering from dementia and is generally considered to appear in three stages. For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, click the link at the bottom of this piece to visit the alz.org website.
Vascular dementia involves weakened judgement and the inability to complete tasks as normal, as opposed to the memory loss associated with the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Vascular dementia is caused as a result of a brain injury, which could be either a blood vessel blockage or microscopic bleeding. It is also a possible side-effect of suffering a stroke, in which case oxygen supply to the brain has failed and brain cells have died as a result.
This form of dementia involves a marked change in personality and behaviour – symptoms which can be very distressing for the sufferer, their family members and friends. Staff at specialist Abingdon care homes and facilities elsewhere are equipped with the experience and knowledge to help all those affected deal with the onset of such symptoms – along with other forms of the condition mentioned in this article – and families often find that they may start to see glimpses of their loved ones’ old selves return over time, with the delivery of expert care and treatment.
With this form of dementia, nerve cells in the front and side sections of the brain are usually affected. Often developing difficulties with language, sufferers can feel very isolated and the impact on their behaviour and personality means that they often need specialist care which cannot be provided at home.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or CJD, is a very serious form of dementia that affects memory, coordination and behaviour. Prions, or infectious agents, attack the central nervous system, which results in them invading the brain; it is this that causes dementia.
Unlike other types of dementia, this form can be rapidly fatal, but it is also very rare and currently only affects one in one million people every year worldwide.
These are just a few of the main types of dementia, and while some forms are more serious than others, they all impact on numerous lives every year – both of the sufferers and their families.
However, information and technology regarding all of these forms is constantly becoming more sophisticated, and while there is not yet a cure for the disease, many are under the false illusion that there is nothing that can be done. In actual fact, there are many specialist homes in the UK that can make life for dementia sufferers and their families far happier and more fulfilled than may have been realised.
Further reading: alz.org
Image Credits: Marcel Oosterwijk, Alex (flickr.com)