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The Three Most Common Types of Dementia for Union County Seniors

It’s not uncommon to hear the terms “dementia” and “Alzheimer’s disease” used interchangeably, but the two are quite different.

Dementia is a general term for a severe loss of memory and other cognitive capacities caused by physical changes in the brain.

Alzheimer’s disease is just one of several types of dementia.

Types of Dementia

Alzheimer's Disease

Accounting for 60 to 80 percent of cases, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. It arises when plaques and bundles of proteins build up between nerve cells in the brain, causing atrophy and, ultimately, brain cell death.

While Alzheimer’s begins well before the first symptoms register, the earliest detectable signs include trouble with memory, such as struggling to remember names and conversations, apathy, and depression. As the disease progresses, more severe symptoms—including impaired communication, poor judgment, and disorientation—emerge.

Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia accounts for roughly 10 percent of dementia cases. Befitting its name, vascular dementia is associated with damaged and blocked blood vessels in the brain. This leads to decreased blood flow to areas of the brain and, as a result, dead tissue. The severity of a case will depend on the location, number, and size of the damage or blockages.

Unlike Alzheimer’s, where memory loss typically emerges first, with vascular dementia, the earliest symptoms tend to include impaired judgment or ability to make decisions, plan, or organize.

Dementia with Lewy Bodies

One of the most common types of dementia after Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, DLB results when abnormal clumps of protein (called Lewy bodies) develop around the cortex.

Like Alzheimer’s patients, people with DLB often experience memory loss and cognitive issues. However, they are more likely to suffer initial symptoms such as sleep disturbances, visual hallucinations, and imbalanced gait, similar to those with Parkinson’s.

Less Common Types of Dementia

Mixed dementia arises when two or three forms of dementia occur at once.

Motor difficulties are one of the signature symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, which otherwise manifests similarly to DLB.

There are several subtypes of frontotemporal dementia, which leads to language difficulties and changes in personality and behavior.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a.k.a. “mad cow disease,” is a rapidly fatal disorder that triggers changes in behavior, memory, and coordination. Caused by excess fluid in the brain, normal pressure hydrocephalus results in impaired memory, difficulty walking, and incontinence. It can sometimes be treated with the draining of fluid.

Huntington's disease is a progressive brain disorder caused by a chromosomal defect. Its symptoms include abnormal involuntary movements, a severe decline in thinking, and mood disturbances.

Commonly associated with alcohol misuse, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is a chronic memory disorder.

  • Amorycare Of Union County provides Home Care and Support for Seniors with Dementia, including 24 hour in home care, and support in independent and assisted living communities. We provide all levels of home care from Companion services, Home care, Adult and Geriatric Patients, and Companion and Personal Care for Elders with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. We accept most Long Term Care Insurance benefits, provide Hospice care, Live-in care for seniors suffering from Dementia. Other services include Post Op care both short and long term, Pre Operation and preparation help and assistance, client monitoring for out of town family members. Our service area covers Union, Cranford, Garwood, Kenilworth, Springfield, Union, Vauxhall, Roselle Park, Elizabeth, Summit, Westfield, New Providence, Plainfield, Clark, Winfield Park, Murray Hill, Fanwood, in Union County, NJ.



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