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Dementia: 5 Common Types, Symptoms and Risk Factors to Watch Out for

B
Bajaj Finserv Health
February 11th, 2022
10 mins read

Key Takeaways

  • Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common forms of dementia
  • Vascular, mixed and Lewy body are different dementia types
  • Mood swings and forgetfulness are a few dementia symptoms

Dementia is a broad term for different symptoms affecting your thinking, social capabilities and memory [1]. Dementia symptoms can interfere with your normal life. But we cannot think of dementia as a specific condition. Instead, a group of diseases affecting your thinking abilities results in this condition. One of the main symptoms of dementia is memory loss. 

Memory loss does not always indicate dementia, but it is one of the earliest signs you should not ignore. Since it affects your cognitive skills, it can hinder your ability to comprehend, calculate and grasp new concepts. WHO reports that approximately 55 million people are suffering from dementia [2]. One of the most common forms of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. It contributes to approximately 60-70% of total dementia cases. Read on to know more about this condition and its symptoms. 

Additional Read: Types of Mental Illnesses 

Dementia types

There are different types of this disease which include:

While there are many causes that result in dementia symptoms, one of the possible causes is a mutation in your genes. This may pass on from one generation to the other. One of the most important genes linked to this condition is apolipoprotein E4 or APOE.

Dementia types

If you are struggling with Alzheimer’s disease, there may be plaques and tangles in your brain. These protein clumps can damage your healthy neurons and the fibers that connect these neurons.

In vascular dementia symptoms, blood vessels supplying blood to the brain are severely damaged. This leads to stroke or damage of nerve fibers in the brain. A few common symptoms of this type include:

  • minimal focus
  • slow thinking
  • problem solving difficulties
  • memory loss

Lewy body dementia is a condition where certain balloon-like protein clumps forms in your brain. Neurologist Friedrich Lewy discovered this condition, which gives it its name. Protein clumps formed by this dementia are called Lewy bodies. Some common signs of this type include:

  • visual hallucinations
  • attention loss
  • focus issues

Impaired nerve cells in the temporal and frontal lobes of your brain result in frontotemporal dementia. This condition can affect your:

  • personality
  • judgement
  • thinking abilities 
  • behavior

Mixed dementia usually affects people who are above 80 years of age. As the name suggests, this condition occurs as a result of different dementia types

Dementia causes

The changes taking place inside your brain are what cause this condition. Though the exact reason is unknown, experts link many genetic mutations to dementia. Nerve cell damage and impaired connections can lead to dementia. Based on the affected part of your brain, your symptoms may also differ.

quick tips for mental health

Dementia risk factors

There are many risk factors you can attribute to this condition. One of the most important ones is age. Though dementia can occur in young people too, it is more likely to affect those above the age of 65 years. If you have a family history of dementia, you are at a higher risk of this condition. If you have Down’s syndrome, it is also possible for you to develop early dementia symptoms.

There are a few risk factors that you may be able to modify by making slight changes in your lifestyle.

  • Lack of nutrition and exercise
  • Cardiovascular risk factors
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Depression
  • Smoking
  • Air pollution
  • Vitamin and nutritional deficiencies

Dementia symptoms

Here are a few common symptoms you may notice in the early stage of this condition.

  • Confusion
  • Poor vocabulary
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety and anger issues
  • Inability to adapt to new changes
  • Apathy
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty in completing your daily routine

Dementia treatment

While there is no permanent cure for this condition, certain medications may help you manage dementia symptoms. Cholinesterase inhibitors may help in reversing the symptoms of this condition [3]. Doctors prescribe memantine to improve the functioning of your brain. To reduce symptoms like depression and sleep issues, doctors may give you other medication. You can manage this condition by following occupational therapy and practicing mindfulness techniques. All these remedies can boost the functioning of your brain.

Additional Read: Boost Your Mental Health Resolution

Dementia management

You can manage this condition by doing exercise on a daily basis. This helps improve your cardiovascular health and increases your strength. Another way to manage it is to try and communicate in simple sentences. Doing different activities like dancing, singing or painting also helps. They help you focus and increase your concentration. 

It is important to look after your mental health and that of your loved ones. If you notice any warnings signs of neurological conditions, do not ignore them. Talk to a mental health specialist at the earliest. Now, you can connect with top psychologists on Bajaj Finserv Health. Book an online doctor consultation and address all warning signs without any delay.

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