Oftentimes, individuals use the term Alzheimer’s to refer to all dementia-related illnesses, when that is not correct. While Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, it is not an umbrella term for all dementias. There are several different types of dementia, all with their own set of symptoms. We believe it’s important for everyone to not only understand that different types of dementias exist, but also the unique characteristics of each type and the signs that indicate their onset.
While there are over 400 different types of dementias, there are five that are considered the most common. Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia, and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year (World Health Organization). Here’s a list of the five most common types of dementia, along with their symptoms. If you recognize any of these symptoms in a loved one, this information can help you decide if you need to seek medical advice.
- Alzheimer’s Disease
Of the 50 million people that have dementia, 5.8 million of those individuals have the Alzheimer’s form of dementia. A few of the most common symptoms include memory loss, a change in disposition, difficulty completing what were once familiar tasks such as speaking or writing and confusing places and time. For more information about Alzheimer’s disease, click here.
- Vascular Dementia (a.k.a. Vascular Cognitive Impairment)
Estimated to account for close to 10% of dementia cases, vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia. This type of dementia often sets in after a stroke or atherosclerosis when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. While symptoms are very similar to Alzheimer’s, there are some clear differences between the two. The cause of vascular dementia is known to be from an acute, specific event as mentioned previously, while the cause of Alzheimer’s is less clear. With vascular dementia, there is a noticeable step-like decline in cognitive ability, while the decline with Alzheimer’s disease is typically a slight, downward slope over an extended period of time.
- Pick’s Disease (a.k.a. Frontotemporal Dementia)
This form of dementia can run in families and impacts the portions of the brain that control language and behavior (the front and side portions). Telltale symptoms of Pick’s disease include incorrect use of words and increased self-consciousness. Pick’s disease makes one feel extremely self-conscious and unable to act in a relaxed and natural way.
- Parkinson’s Dementia
Parkinson’s dementia is not the same as Parkinson’s disease. It is common for individuals suffering from Parkinson’s disease to develop Parkinson’s dementia, but not all do. The symptoms of Parkinson’s dementia are similar to Alzheimer’s, with one noticeable difference. While Alzheimer’s hinders memory and language, Parkinson’s affects the speed of cognitive function, slowing down one’s movements. Symptoms gradually worsen over years, with cognitive symptoms developing later than the physical signs of this dementia.
- Huntington’s Disease
Like Pick’s disease, Huntington’s disease is another form of dementia possessing genetic links. Unlike other forms of dementia, Huntington’s comes in two forms – one form impacts juveniles and the other affects adults in their 30s and 40s. The most common symptoms of Huntington’s disease include jerking, attention deficit, difficulty swallowing, and the loss of impulse control.
If you have noticed any of these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, it may be time to seek advice from a medical professional. If you have been diagnosed with a form of dementia, MapHabit™ can help you regain independence, reduce stress and enhance your quality of life. Sign up for our newsletter today!