This month we will be starting our June blogger series highlighting personal experiences with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Each week, we will have a blogger give a first hand account of their lives and how dementia and Alzheimer’s have affected it. To begin the series, we will explain the three most common forms of dementia and their symptoms and characteristics.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 50 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Early symptoms include having a difficult time remembering names and recent events. Depressions and apathy are often other early symptoms of Alzheimer’s. As the disease progresses the later symptoms include impaired judgment, disorientation, confusion, behavior changes and difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.
The second most prevalent form of dementia is vascular dementia. Losing the ability to plan steps needed to complete a task or having impaired judgment is the initial symptom as opposed to memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s. In vascular dementia, changes in thinking skills sometimes occur suddenly following strokes that block major brain blood vessels. These thinking problems may begin as mild changes but may worsen as a result of multiple minor strokes.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB)
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a type of progressive dementia that leads to a decline in thinking, reasoning and independent function because of abnormal microscopic deposits that damage brain cells over time. It’s is the third most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, accounting for 10 to 25 percent of cases. Alpha-synuclein protein, the chief component of Lewy bodies, is found widely in the brain. Lewy bodies are abnormal aggregations (or clumps) of the protein. When they develop in a part of the brain called the cortex, dementia can result. Lewy bodies are also found in other brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease dementia.
On Wednesday we will have our first guest blogger give their personal experience living with dementia as a caregiver for her grandmother. She will share a day in the life and ways of coping with being a full time caregiver.
Citation: Alzheimer’s Association