The dementia syndrome can be caused by over 200 different diseases. The most common cause is Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The other common causes are: Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), Vascular dementia and Frontotemporal dementia (FTLD).
Dementia is divided into two wider categories: degenerative and non-degenerative dementia.
Degenerative dementia is a process, that primarily affects the nervous system and it gradually spreads throughout the entire nervous system. The scientists believe that the cause is genetic. The most common types are Alzheimer’s disease and Frontotemporal dementia.
- Alzheimer’s dementia (AD) affects cerebral cortex, because senile plaques (SP) and neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) are accumulating. It leads to the decay of the nervous cells, decay of neuron cell transition. Some sources say that this kind of dementia represents 60 – 65 %, other sources 80 % of all dementia. Sources also say, that it effects one out of ten people after the age of 65, after the age of 80 is even more common.
Alzheimer’s dementia is named after a German psychiatrist. He published his first findings in 1906. When we speak about dementia, we are normally referring to Alzheimer’s dementia.
- Frontotemporal or Pick’s dementia (FTLD) is a type of dementia that shows between the ages of 40 and 65. If affects the front part of the brain, frontal and temporal region. The symptoms are confusion, speech impairment, personality changes, apathy, lack of judgement. It can also cause movement disfunctions, that are appearing in the shape of Parkinson’s disease or weakening of the muscles. It is mostly genetic and it effects only 5-7% of all dementias.
Non-degenerative dementia is a versatile group of disorders with different kinds of sources: endocrine, inflammatory, nutritional and toxic. The most common is Vascular dementia.
- Vascular dementia (Vad) can be a result of two or more strokes or a heart attack. The veins that are damaged after the strokes, can damage cerebellum and midbrain. This results in a gradual decrease of different abilities, such as short-term memory, confusion and other symptoms, that are similar to Alzheimer's dementia. A study has shown that a result for dementia can be passivity, where are present small proportion of motoric movements, interactions with the environment and apathy. Vascular dementia represents 12% of all dementia.
- Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is some kind of combination between Alzheimer's dementia and Parkinsons's disease and it represents 20% of all dementia. It is recognized in affecting the attention span, executive functions, visual perception and memory disorders. There may also occur hallucinations, trembling, slow movement, speech disorders, mood swings.