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Symptoms of Dementia Might Vary According to Type

Illustration of the thought processes in the brain

When you think of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease probably leaps to mind. After all, 8 out of 10 patients with dementia do indeed present with Alzheimer’s. However, there are other types of dementia that can strike as we age, and the progression of the disease might different significantly from Alzheimer’s.

Remember that when we talk about dementia, we are talking about a physical disease of the brain. Therefore, presentation of symptoms will depend upon actual changes in the brain’s physical structure or functioning.

Alzheimer’s has been linked to an abnormal protein, which creates a plaque buildup in the brain. The disease progresses gradually, and each patient will pass through very predictable stages as they age.

Another type of dementia, called vascular dementia, originates from a different type of malfunction. The small blood vessels which feed the brain begin to plug up and become blocked, causing a reaction similar to a very small stroke. However, we are talking about microscopic blood vessels in this case, not the large ones affected by strokes. So vascular dementia can present with very few symptoms for a long time, and then a series of events in the brain can trigger a more sudden decline.

Whereas Alzheimer’s patients experience a predictable path of deterioration, vascular dementia patients can present with uneven symptoms. Language is often preserved while other functions decline. This can lead to patients expressing a desire to be independent and care for themselves, yet being physically unable to actually do so.

As you can see, the type of dementia experienced by the patient can greatly impact the type care they need. For more information on the different types of dementia, check out our video below, and give us a call if you have questions about caregiving at this stage in life.

Dementia: Most Common Types from Hospice of the Valleys on Vimeo.

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