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What is Dementia?

Dementia is not a specific disease. Rather, it is an overall term that encompasses a set of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other cognitive skills that are severe enough to impair a person’s ability to perform their day to day activities.

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What’s the difference between Dementia & Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia. Often, the term dementia is used interchangeably with Alzheimer’s by the average person. However, dementia is actually an umbrella term that describes a set of symptoms while the former is a specific type of dementia. Just like Alzheimer’s there are several other types of dementia, see below for info on each.

Getting the right diagnosis is important

Without the right diagnosis, it’s very difficult to get proper treatment or to understand what is happening. It’s important to know that it is extremely difficult for physicians to diagnosis dementias.

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Main Types of Dementia

*These are general estimates based off research papers and studies.

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What are general differences between the 4 types?

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) Fronto-Temporal Dementia (LBD) Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) Vascular Dementia (VD)
Location in Brain Typically starts with shrinkage in Hippocampus. The amygdala is generally affected later. Frontal and/or temporal lobes shrink. The different sub-types of FTD reflect different patterns of damage. Multiple areas of the brain – abnormal protein deposits in the cerebral cortex, limbic system and brain stem A large area of tissue on one side of the brain dies because the blood supply is suddenly cut off
Average age when diagnosed 65< 45< 50< 60<
Average length of duration 4-8 Years 7-8 Years 5-8 Years 5 Years
Physical Impairment Rare until end stages Depending on variation can be drastic in early stages, more severe in late stages Mild until later stages Common in early stages
Verbal/Writing Impairment Mild in early stages, progressively gets worse over time Depending on variation can be drastic in early stages, more severe in late stages Mild until end stages Common in early stages
Behavior Impairment Rare until end stages Can be drastic in early stages Can be drastic in early stages – fluctuations in behavior Mild until end stages
Memory Impairment Mild in early stages, progressively gets worse over time Depending on variation can be drastic in early stages, more severe in late stages Become more common in later stages Mild until end stages

*These are general estimates based off research papers and studies. This does not represent all individuals and these symptoms can vary drastically on an person-to-person basis.

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Visualizing the different types of Dementia

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Want more info on the different types?

ALZHEIMERS DISEASE (AD)

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FRONTO-TEMPORAL DEMENTIA (FTD)

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LEWY BODY DEMENTIA (LBD)

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VASCULAR DEMENTIA (VD)

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STAGES OF DEMENTIA

Not sure which stage of the disease you or your loved one is in?

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TYPES OF DEMENTIA

Get information on the different types of dementia and the differences between them.

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CARE TIPS

Get practical and specific information on caring for and living with dementia. Use the filters to get diagnosis specific information.

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