Last week, we listed some of the different types of dementia since, contrary to popular belief, Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia are not synonymous. If you want to learn more about Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, and Vascular Dementia, then hit the link for part one.
Now, we continue our list of different types of dementia.
The Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (often referred to as simply Korsakoff syndrome) is brought on by a thiamine (vitamin B-1) deficiency. Thiamine helps cells in the brain produce energy from sugar, so if there’s a deficiency, they cannot produce enough energy to function properly. Although there can be numerous causes, the most common is simultaneously the most preventable.
What usually causes Korsakoff Syndrome is alcohol. Not surprisingly, the toxins in alcohol react adversely with the brain. While, we’re not saying, “Don’t Drink,” remember to always drink in moderation. Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s or dementia – many are treatable – but that doesn’t mean they’re reversible or curable. This one however, is most commonly caused by alcohol misuse – which is something you can prevent.
That being said, you can also suffer from Korsakoff dementia if you have a lack of nutrition, chronic infections or AIDs.
Or, perhaps more commonly associated with “Mad Cow Disease” (a variant), Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) occurs in mammals – however rare – and is fatal.
It impairs cognitive abilities, memory, coordination, and results in mood swings. Sadly, this occurs when a protein in the brain misfolds and causes a fatal domino effect, resulting in death.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies
This type of dementia (often referred to as DLB), bears many similarities to a number of other dementias. The initial symptoms, like many forms of dementia include sleep disturbances, subsequently sundowning and hallucinations, confusion and can even cause a mixture of dementias like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
The Lewy Bodies are clusters of the protein, alpha-synuclein. The difficulty is that these may lead to other forms of dementia or even be present in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s… which brings us to the next form.
This is not “one” kind of dementia, but as its name implies a mixture of dementias. As you read from CJD and even vascular dementia (in part 1), some dementias have similar symptoms and some can occur simultaneously. When this happens, they’re referred to as mixed dementia, as opposed to “one” kind.
Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
This type of dementia is very treatable. The symptoms are memory loss, incontinence, and trouble with movement (like walking), but the cause is due to a buildup of fluid in the brain.
Depending on where this happens in the brain however, there are surgeries that can drain the fluid and lessen the symptoms and increase longevity.
Those are some more of the various types of dementia that can occur in the elderly. Again, while there are others, many are also mixed, so it may be a combination of a few.
Growing more knowledgeable on dementia is a one of the best ways of coping with the diagnosis since it is not curable. There are always treatments and support groups; family members and caregivers that are there to listen.