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Exploring the Various Types of Dementia and How to Identify Them

In essence, dementia and its consequences can appear differently in various people, therefore it is important to identify the kind of dementia your elderly folk has and get familiar with their symptoms to more effectively recognize them and manage their care.

What is Dementia?

Dementia, in its most basic form, is a brain illness that isn't a typical aspect of ageing and is typically brought on by brain cells dying faster than they would in a healthy lifespan. Dementia, being a brain disorder, causes memory loss alongside other mental abilities that can worsen over time and affect a person's everyday activities.

Memory loss, poor cognition, cognitive and physical dysfunction, and personality changes are all symptoms of dementia types, which goes beyond simple forgetfulness.

Root Causes of Dementia

Although the condition is frequently linked to the elderly, it is also affecting younger people. According to figures from the National Neuroscience Institute, 92,000 Singaporeans have dementia as of 2022, and 45 per cent of their dementia patients are younger than 65.

A person with dementia has a significant influence on their own life as well as the lives of people in their immediate vicinity. Undiagnosed dementia patients have a significant likelihood of declining quickly. To effectively manage the illness, awareness, early detection, and action are indeed crucial.

In reality, dementia is a group of symptoms brought on by several disorders rather than a distinct illness. In around 7 out of 10 instances of dementia, Alzheimer's disease is the most prevalent kind. Another kind of dementia brought on by a string of mini-strokes is vascular dementia. Both frontotemporal dementia and Lewy body dementia, two less frequent kinds of dementia, have the same impact as Alzheimer's disease in that they accelerate the natural death rate of brain cells.

What Symptoms Mark Early Dementia?

Seniors generally are more susceptible to dementia, although it is not a natural aspect of ageing. Every individual will distinctively experience dementia and go through several phases. Memory issues are the first indicators of dementia in all forms. The decline in cognitive abilities happens gradually, and as it advances, daily life and tasks will become harder to complete on your own.

Following are some dementia ABCD symptoms:

Activities of daily living. Patients suffering from dementia could find it difficult to do routine jobs or basic actions like dressing themselves, and they might also seem untidy.

Behavioural changes. Dementia patients may become socially reclusive and uninterested in activities, and also, both their personality and mood might vary.

Cognitive decline. Decision-making and mathematical skills may be impaired in someone with dementia. Additionally, dementia patients can be forgetful and have trouble remembering the proper word or name.

Disorientation. Dementia can make it difficult for a person to discern between time, location, and space.

Diagnosis for Dementia

Diagnosing dementia requires a thorough evaluation by a medical professional and, occasionally, a psychologist. Normal ageing-related forgetfulness cannot be distinguished from dementia. An abnormality or underlying medical condition may be found via blood testing.

To check for fundamental modifications brought on by tumours or strokes, a doctor may also conduct brain imaging studies. By asking questions that gauge various elements of brain function, a psychologist can also establish dementia.

Four Most Common Types of Dementia

The majority of people with dementia diagnoses often fall into one of these three categories.

Alzheimer’s Disease

The most prevalent form of dementia, Alzheimer's disease, is brought on by the accumulation of particular kinds of proteins within and outside of brain cells. It is a degenerative disease with a confusing, slow initial phase, and over several years, symptoms involving the thinking skills progressively get worse. Alzheimer's disease is also irreversible, gradually worsens thinking and memory abilities, and could ultimately impede one's ability to perform basic functions like eating. Although there currently exists no cure for this illness, medication can help with dementia treatment in Singapore

Vascular Dementia

A kind of dementia called vascular dementia is brought on by a condition or damage to the blood arteries in the brain, typically in the form of strokes. On a brain scan, patients with vascular dementia could also exhibit signs of silent strokes. Even though vascular dementia cannot be reversed, it is crucial to address its risk factors. The disease's course and the possibility of stroke recurrence can potentially be slowed by managing risk factors including smoking, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Lewy Body Dementia

The broad definition of Lewy body dementia is characterized by abnormal accumulation of Lewy bodies within brain cells. Movement, thought, and behaviour are altered as a result. Slowness, tremors, tight muscles, and strong visual hallucinations are some of its symptoms, which can occasionally also be brought on by Parkinson's disease. Concentration, organization, problem-solving, and planning difficulties are among other significant symptoms.

Frontotemporal Dementia

The primary symptoms of frontotemporal dementia are noticeable shifts in personality and, in some circumstances, linguistic impairment. The frontal and temporal lobes of the brain experience increasing damage, which is the root cause of it. It can result in diminished intellectual capacity as well as modifications to personality, mood, and behaviour that are connected to the operation of the frontal lobe in the brain.

Various Types of Dementia

Understanding the numerous forms of dementia and their diagnoses may enable you to better meet the requirements of your senior folks. Dementia has many different varieties, each with unique causes and symptoms.

Parkinson’s Disease

When Parkinson's disease is progressed, dementia may result. Early signs of the illness include difficulty with logic and judgment, which can escalate to speech difficulties, disorientation, hallucinations, irritability, low mood, and depression.

Alcohol-related Dementia

As the name implies, dementia associated with excessive alcohol use is referred to as alcohol-related dementia. Memory, acquiring knowledge, and other mental processes are impacted by this. Specific alcohol-related brain injuries including Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome and Korsakoff syndrome may be linked to dementia caused by alcohol.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

One of the rarest types of dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease affects just 1 in 1 million people. People frequently pass away within a year of diagnosis because it advances quickly. Confusion, forgetfulness, memory problems, anxiety, and other forms of depression are just a few of the symptoms it shares with other types of dementia. Muscle stiffness and twitching are additional symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

Wernicke's disease and Korsakoff syndrome are two distinct but connected disorders that are frequently combined to form the term Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. It is frequently categorized as dementia even though, technically speaking, it is not a type of dementia.

Wernicke's encephalopathy, another name for Wernicke's disease, is brought on by bleeding in the lower portions of the brain brought on by a vitamin B-1 deficiency. Malnutrition or persistent infections are two potential causes of this vitamin deficit, although alcoholism is the most frequent one. Physical symptoms like double vision and a loss of muscular coordination usually go away if Korsakoff syndrome is not treated as soon as it manifests itself. Korsakoff syndrome is characterized by challenges with memory, acquiring new abilities, and information processing.

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Normal pressure hydrocephalus is a disorder that typically results in fluid accumulation in the ventricles of the brain, damaging its tissue and bringing on the symptoms of dementia. Injury, haemorrhage, infection, brain tumours, and prior brain surgery are a few possible causes of this illness.

Symptoms of the illness include frequent falls, lack of bladder or bowel control, mood changes, cognitive impairment, poor balance, and mood fluctuations. Surgery can thankfully halt, control, and cure NPH, thus it is crucial to get therapy as soon as possible to minimize brain damage.

Huntington’s Disease

Huntington's disease is often a hereditary illness, and younger persons are more likely to develop dementia symptoms. This disorder can result in dementia and mobility impairment because the brain's nerve cells die down too soon.

Along with the physical signs of jerking, difficulty getting around, and trouble swallowing, dementia-related symptoms also include difficulty concentrating, issues with controlling one's impulses, difficulty speaking coherently, and trouble picking up new skills.

Mixed Dementia

If a person has many types of dementia, which is rather frequent, they are said to have mixed dementia. In reality, 45% of people with mixed dementia are ignorant of it, and the most typical combination is Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. As the illness worsens, most patients will have trouble speaking and moving about. However, the symptoms might vary based on the different combinations.

HIV-Associated Dementia

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated dementia, also known as AIDS Dementia Complex, is a clinical complication that can occur in people with HIV and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

ADC is a complex condition made up of symptoms affecting many neurological systems and the mind that might appear in some HIV-positive individuals. When HIV infection occurs in its early stages, ADC is uncommon. However, as the illness progresses, the frequency of ADC may rise to about 7% in persons who are not using anti-HIV medications.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Dementia

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is essentially a kind of dementia in which several repetitive head traumas can impair brain function progressively to the point that it interferes with the person's ability to operate normally or at work. Concussions are a type of repeated head trauma, as are subconcussions, which are much smaller head bumps without symptoms.

Childhood Dementia

More than 70 uncommon genetic illnesses, namely Niemann-Pick type-C, Batten disease, and Sanfilippo syndrome, contribute to the cumulative brain damage that leads to childhood dementia. Roughly one in every 2,800 infants throughout the world is born with a condition that leads to childhood dementia.

Caregiving for Family Members Suffering from Dementia

Early diagnosis, treatment, and customized care plans are essential for ensuring that dementia patients receive the best care that they want. The purpose of this is to establish care plans so the person may make choices on their own before losing their mental ability and being transferred to nursing homes in Singapore.

An interdisciplinary strategy that makes use of both medication and non-drug treatments is required for dementia management. Some medications, commonly referred to as cognitive enhancers, may help preserve memory, logic, and communication abilities. To lessen the mental and behavioural signs of dementia, these therapies should not be utilized in isolation but rather as a supplement to other non-drug interventions including music, art, massage, memory therapy, and supervised exercise programs under dementia care Singapore.

Red Crowns for Dementia Care

For seniors living with Alzheimer's disease and dementia, memory care facilities and Singapore senior group homes are great safe havens. We provide the highest quality care for your elderly loved ones at Red Crowns' Memory Care, where they reside in apartment-style institutions with security features, receive encouragement from their peers, and get compassionate care from nurturing caregivers. If you're seeking advice and information on how to properly care for your elderly relatives, read our guide on dementia day care.

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