Dementia is a term that covers a category of diseases and conditions that primarily cause memory loss through physical changes to the brain. Here’s a guide to the different conditions in this category:
- Alzheimer’s disease: The most common type of dementia, Alzheimer’s accounts for between 60 and 80% of dementia conditions. It has been known to cause short-term memory loss, confusion, apathy, behavior changes, depression, decreased communication skills and decreased judgment. This is the result of beta-amyloid protein deposits (known as plaques) or twisted tau proteins (tangles) in the brain cells that lead to nerve cell damage and cell death.
- Parkinson’s disease: A progressive disease that affects movement, it can lead to dementia symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer’s. Parkinson’s disease is caused by the development of clumps of alpha-synuclein protein deep within the brain that lead to nerve degeneration.
- Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome: Caused by a deficiency of vitamin B1, this disease often affects alcoholics. This vitamin plays an important role in brain function and nerve cells cannot function properly without it, leading to severe memory loss.
- Huntington’s disease: This is caused by a defective gene on Chromosome 4, which results in abnormal brain proteins. Over time, this disease worsens, leading to involuntary movements, a decline in thinking and reasoning abilities, irritability and mood changes.
- Normal pressure hydrocephalus: Caused by a buildup of fluid in the brain, patients experience memory loss, as well as difficulty with urinary control and walking.
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: Known as ‘mad cow disease,’ this fatal brain disease can be transmitted to people in certain circumstances, impairing memory and coordination.
- Frontotemporal dementia: Little is known about this category of diseases, which includes primary progressive aphasia and Pick’s disease, as there is currently a lack of research-based evidence to link each case. These conditions affect the front and sides of the brain and include symptoms such as personality changes, difficulty with language and behavioral changes.
Memory care and support services from assisted living specialists
At United Methodist Homes of New Jersey, we understand that caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or dementia can be stressful and emotionally draining, and as the disease progresses it may become impossible for you to manage without qualified support.
This is why we offer specialist memory support and care services specifically geared toward assisting Alzheimer’s and other dementia residents. By focusing on providing onsite customized care plans and activities within our comfortable apartment-style community, we help ensure your loved one maintains his or her dignity and quality of life.
To find out more about our services for Alzheimer’s patients, please contact the nearest UMH today:
UMH Bristol Glen in Sussex County, NJ: (973) 300-5788
UMH Collingswood Manor in Camden County, NJ: (856) 854-4331
UMH Francis Asbury Manor in Monmouth County, NJ: (732) 774-1316
UMH Pitman Manor in Gloucester County, NJ: (856) 589-7800
UMH The Shores in Cape May County, NJ: 609-399-8505
For more information, visit www.umh-nj.org.
This content was originally posted at http://www.umh-nj.org/blog/understanding-different-types-of-dementia/