Alzheimer's vs Dementia - What are the Types & Causes?
November 10, 2020
When it comes to Alzheimer’s and Dementia, these two words can be oftentimes be confused with each other. Alzheimer’s is simply one of the types of dementia, and it is one of the most common(53-70% of cases), which is why so many of us are familiar with its name.
There are essentially 4 types of dementia, but we say 5 types because there are different blends of dementia, and there are some that don’t have a specific diagnosis. While there are different types of dementia, it isn’t classified in terms of severity, but rather that these are inherently different forms of dementia.
#1 - Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s has several causes but it is a consequence of abnormal shrinkage of the brain and the deposition of amyloid plaques in the cells. These amyloid deposits are associated with the accumulation of toxic tau protein deposits in the brain. Tau is a protein involved in maintaining the structure of neurons. In Alzheimer’s disease it aggregates to form knots inside the cells, eventually killing them.
#2 - Lewy Body Dementia
Lewy Body has many of the same features of Parkinson’s. There are tremors, stiffness and sometimes even sleeping disorders with visual hallucinations.
#3 - Vascular Dementia
Every stroke or vascular accident cause damage to the brain, after some vascular injury symptoms similar to Alzheimer's can appear. In particular it seems to affect memory, bad decision making and difficulty planning. Since this particular type of dementia is associated with strokes, some of the causes that can lead to this type are smoking and high cholesterol.
#4 - Frontotemporal Dementia
When people age, their brain tends to deal with some shrinkage. Frontotemporal Dementia is where there is rapid shrinkage in the brain. This is where there is a degeneration of the brain neurons, which is focused predominantly in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. This can lead to changes of behavior and personality, but also it can show up as a language trouble, difficulty to move, and memory loss. It tends to appear at younger ages than Alzheimer's, but is much less common.
#5 -“The Others”
This is dementia that can’t be classified in one of the above, but it can also be described as a blend of the various categories of dementia.
For more information, subscribe to our Podcast and YouTube Channels. Dr. Robert White discusses these types of dementia on the Doctor Stitches Podcast, and the YouTube Link is also listed below.
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