Dementia is a word to describe a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking, and social abilities severe enough to interfere with daily functioning. Though dementia generally involves memory loss, memory loss has different causes. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia in older adults, but there are a number of causes of dementia. Depending on the cause, some dementia symptoms can be reversed. Below are some definitions for some of the most frequent causes of dementia:
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. In Alzheimer’s disease, the brain cells degenerate due to the accumulation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. The result is a steady decline in memory and mental function. The rate at which symptoms worsen varies from person to person.
Frontotemporal Degeneration (FTD) Subtypes
Frontotemporal degeneration is an umbrella term for a diverse group of uncommon disorders that primarily
affect the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Some people with frontotemporal degeneration
undergo changes in their personality and social skills and can be impulsive or emotionally indifferent, called behavioral variant FTD.
Another subtype called Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) affects the ability to use language. People with PPA can have trouble expressing their thoughts and understanding or finding words.
Corticobasal syndrome (CBS) belongs to the category of FTD disorders and this disorder primarily affects movement. The condition may cause those affected to have poor coordination, stiffness, cognitive changes, and speech or language difficulty.
Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) also belongs to the category of FTD disorders and primarily affects movement including walking, balance and eye movements.
Lewy Body Dementia (LBD)
Lewy body dementia, also known as dementia with Lewy bodies, is the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. Protein deposits, called Lewy bodies, develop in nerve cells in the brain
regions involved in thinking, memory, and movement. Some people with Lewy body dementia experience
hallucinations and changes in alertness and attention. Other effects can include Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms such as rigid muscles, slow movement, and tremors.
Mild Cognitive Impairment
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the stage between the expected cognitive changes of normal aging and the more serious decline of dementia. It can involve problems with memory, language, thinking, and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes. Mild cognitive impairment may increase your risk of later developing dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease or other neurological conditions.