July 8, 2014

  • ·      describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language 
  • dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease or a series of strokes
  • ·      dementia is a terminal illness

    Who knew? Not I! More to follow…

Click here to view the best informational booklet I have seen:


From About.com
·      American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Head Trauma
Dementia due to head trauma can result from a single major head injury or from repeated head injuries, such as in professional sports. The degree and nature of impairment depends on the location and severity of the brain injury. People with dementia due to head trauma often experience amnesia, memory loss, irritability, attention problems, depression, apathy, and other personality changes. This kind of dementia is most common among young males who engage in risk-taking behaviors.

Huntington's Disease
Huntington's disease is an inherited condition affecting cognition, emotion, and movement. It can occur as early as 4 years of age or as late as 85 years of age, but it usually develops in the late 30s or early 40s. The primary symptoms of dementia due to Huntington's are difficulty retrieving memories, problems with executive functioning, and impaired judgment. Memory problems become more severe as the disease progresses, and delusions and hallucinations may occur. Children of those with Huntington's disease have a 50% chance of also developing the disease.

Lewy Body Dementia
Lewy body dementia, named for Friederich H. Lewy, who first described the deposits in the early 1900s, is characterized by deposits of the protein alpha-synuclein inside brain cells. While many symptoms of Lewy Body dementia resemble Alzheimer’s, three symptoms set it apart from other types of dementia: vivid hallucinations, varying levels of consciousness or alertness, and severe sleep disturbances.

Lewy body disease is characterized by deposits of the protein alpha-synuclein inside brain cells. These deposits impair perception, thinking, and behavior. The deposits are called Lewy bodies, named after Friederich H. Lewy, who first described the deposits in the early 1900s. Lewy bodies are also found in the brains of those with Parkinson's and sometimes those with Alzheimer's, making diagnosis more complicated. Three symptoms set Lewy body disease apart from other types of dementia: vivid visual hallucinations, fluctuating alertness, and severe sleep problems, including acting out one's dreams or making severe involuntary movements.

 Mixed Dementia
Sometimes, dementia is due to multiple medical conditions. In these cases, it's often called mixed dementia. The most common form of mixed dementia is due to both Alzheimer's and vascular disease. Because dementia can be due to so many disorders, obtaining an accurate diagnosis is imperative in order to properly treat the dementia.

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
Normal pressure hydrocephalus occurs when there is an abnormal increase in cerebrospinal fluid in the brain's cavities, which puts pressure on the brain. In addition to typical symptoms of dementia, people with dementia due to normal pressure hydrocephalus often experience problems with walking and balance, as well as impaired bladder control.

Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of dementia. It results from reduced blood flow to the brain from either a narrowing or complete blockage of blood vessels that deprives blood cells of vital oxygen and nutrients. Vascular dementia can be caused by multiple small strokes, a single large stroke, diabetes, or hypertension.

Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia and results from impaired blood flow to the brain. This can occur either by a narrowing or complete blockage of blood vessels in the brain, which deprives brain cells from the nutrients and oxygen they need to function. Vascular dementia can result from several small strokes that occur over time, after a single major stroke, or from conditions that don't block blood vessels, but simply narrow them, such as diabetes or hypertension. Vascular dementia often progresses in a step-wise fashion. For example, the person might stabilize for a period of time, then suddenly get much worse, then continue to alternate between stable periods and sudden drops in functioning.

I can't tell which type of dementia my mother has. Her symptoms match several descriptions including Head Trauma, Lewy Body, Mixed and Vascular. My mother's personality has changed, she is irritable, she has hallucinations, she talks about 30 years ago as the present, she sleeps a lot, she cannot walk or stand and she has lost lots of her vocabulary. Everything she does takes tremendous effort and makes her tired. She spends most of her day resting or sleeping in a chair. She doesn't dress or go out. She needs assistance to maintain hygiiene. Her decline since January is significant.

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