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3 Common Types of Dementia

Dementia itself is not a disease; it is an overall term that describes significant changes in the brain characterized by cognitive decline and memory loss. While Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80 percent of dementia cases, it is not the only form.

Franklin Park® Senior Living in and around San Antonio, Texas, offers person-centered memory care combined with meaningful lifestyle activity programs. To better educate you and your family, we would like to share three common types of dementia (excluding Alzheimer’s disease). If you would like to read more about the history and facts surrounding Alzheimer’s, click the button below.

Vascular Dementia

While this is the second most common type of dementia, it is not one that is commonly known by the public. Certain types of dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease, can take years to develop and progress, whereas vascular dementia can occur very suddenly. Symptoms often ensue after a stroke due to conditions that block or reduce blood flow to various regions of the brain.

Though this form of dementia is similar to Alzheimer’s, it affects different sections of the brain. Some of the symptoms a person with vascular dementia may experience include:

  • Memory impairment
  • Difficulty with reasoning and decision making
  • Changes in how they walk
  • Loss of balance
  • Common stroke symptoms (i.e., numbness is one side of the face, slurred speech, disorientation, etc.)

While the likelihood of developing a form of dementia increases as we age, vascular dementia has other risk factors associated with it. Risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol can put you at an increased risk for this type of dementia.

Lewy Body Dementia (LBD)

In the United States alone, there are an estimated 1.3 million Americans with this type of dementia. According to the National Institute on Aging, “Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a disease associated with abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. These deposits, called Lewy bodies, affect chemicals in the brain whose changes, in turn, can lead to problems with thinking, movement, behavior, and mood.”

LBD is a progressive disease – meaning symptoms develop and worsen over time. How quickly symptoms start and change varies from person to person, depending on overall health, age, and severity of symptoms.

Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)

This type of dementia directly affects one’s behavior, language, and personality. What sets this apart from other forms of dementia is the fact that it is typically diagnosed in middle-aged adults (45-65 years old), as opposed to older adults. It is estimated to affect 50,000-60,000 people in the United States.

This form of dementia directly affects the frontal lobes and/or the temporal lobes. The frontal lobes are responsible for controlling emotions, planning, and maintaining socially appropriate behavior. The temporal lobes are responsible for understanding or processing language, making it difficult for someone affected to understand or speak.

There are many types of dementia, and while they all function with similar symptoms, they can alter the brain and its function in very different and specific ways. Dementia typically targets those 65 years or older, but it is not specific to that demographic. In fact, the first case of Alzheimer’s disease was discovered in a woman who was only 56 years old, and she had been demonstrating symptoms years prior.

Though there is no cure for dementia, memory care services and support are available to help slow the progress of the disease and provide a secure and loving environment for those dealing with dementia. At Franklin Park® Senior Living, our Refreshing Waters® memory care program offers a purpose-built environment, designed to enhance daily routines and allow residents to continue life’s journey surrounded by people who genuinely care for them.

We encourage you to visit a Franklin Park® Senior Living community near you to learn more about our memory care services and senior housing.