Is dementia only affecting older people? Many people may not know that dementia does not necessarily occur in the elderly. Apart from Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia, there are some other rare diseases that suffer from dementia. We will go through the different types of dementia caused by neurodegenerative diseases.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. It mainly affects older people, but there are still some people who get Alzheimer’s diseases in adulthood due to genetic variation. There are around 5% of Alzheimer’s diseases are early-onset Alzheimer’s diseases.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies
Dementia with Lewy bodies is caused by protein deposition in neurons. It interrupts the chemical information in the patient’s brain and causes memory loss and disorientation. Patients with Lewy bodies dementia and patients with Parkinson’s disease share a lot of symptoms, for example, shaking hands and difficulty walking.
Frontotemporal Dementia is caused by genetic mutation or genetic inheritance. It affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Patients with frontotemporal dementia would have speech difficulties and poor judgement.
As Parkinson’s disease gradually affects neurons in the brain, patients with Parkinson’s disease might have memory loss or hard to concentrate. They have weak visual perception and difficult memories of easy tasks in daily life.
Huntington’s disease is a genetic disorder. Neurons in patients’ brains breakdown progressively. Therefore, patients with Huntington’s disease would have dementia symptoms, for example, poor judgement, poor memory, difficulty in learning new knowledge. They would also develop the involuntary movement of limbs.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is caused by an abnormal infectious of the prion protein. There are 15% of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease cases are hereditary. Patients with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease would have a loss of memory and involuntary jerking movements. It is a fatal neurodegenerative disease in which patients dying within one year of onset.
Niemann-Pick disease type C
Niemann-Pick disease type C is a rare genetic disorder that affects lipid metabolism. Fats, especially cholesterol, accumulate in the patient’s liver and spleen. Some other harmful fats accumulate in the patient’s brain, therefore result in dementia symptoms.
What should I do if I have dementia symptoms?
Apart from the above types of dementia caused by neurodegenerative diseases, there are some more causes of dementia symptoms. For example, vascular dementia caused by stroke or cardiovascular disease. Some of the dementia cases are caused by alcoholism, lack of vitamin B1, even HIV-related.
Dementia symptoms related to neurodegenerative diseases are so similar, for example, communication problem, poor judgement, difficulty speaking, mood and personality change, confusion with time and place. Genetic testing for neurodegenerative diseases can help with confirmatory diagnosis at an early stage. It allows patients to get effective treatment as soon as possible. If you find yourself or your family members experiencing the early symptoms of dementia, please seek medical advice as soon as possible.