Dementia is not merely a problem of memory. It reduces the ability to learn, reason, retain or recall past experience. Dementia also results in a loss of patterns of thoughts, feelings and activities. Additional mental and behavioral problems often affect people who have dementia, and may influence quality of life, caregivers, and the need for institutionalization. As dementia worsens individuals may neglect themselves and become careless.
Anxiety and depression can also affect people who have dementia. Psychosis and agitation/aggression also often accompany dementia. Each of these needs to be assessed and treated independent of the underlying dementia.
Some of the diseases that have dementia as their primary symptom:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Vascular dementia
- Lewy body dementia
- Frontotemporal dementia
- Pick's disease
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
- Dementia can be a common feature of these diseases:
- Huntington’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson's disease
- Progressive supranuclear palsy
What are the types of dementia?
Proper differential diagnosis between the types of dementia (cortical and subcortical) will require, at the least, referral to a specialist. The symptoms of dementia must be evident for at least six months for a diagnosis of one of the types of dementia to be made.
The two main types of dementia are:
- ex. Alzheimers, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
- ex. Parkinsons Disease, Huntington's Disease