Types of dementia

There are many different types of dementia although some are far more common than others. They are often named according to the condition that has caused the dementia. Some of the more common types are outlined below.

Alzheimer's Disease

This is the most common type of dementia. During the course of the disease, individual brain cells become damaged. The numbers gradually increase over time so the brain starts to function less well. It starts slowly, and the decline can happen over a number of years. It usually affects short–term memory first.

Vascular Dementia

This is the second most common type of dementia. If the oxygen supply to the brain fails, brain cells may die. The symptoms of vascular dementia can occur either suddenly, following a stroke, or over time, through a series of small strokes.

Lewy Bodies Dementia

This form of dementia gets its name from tiny spherical structures that develop inside nerve cells. Their presence in the brain leads to the degeneration of brain tissue. This causes the brain to function less well in sending and receiving messages.

Fronto-temporal Dementia

In fronto-temporal dementia, damage is usually focused in the front part and side parts of the brain. Personality and behavior are initially more affected than memory.

Younger and early onset Dementia

Early young onset dementia usually affects people who are between 30 and 65 years old. It is also referred to as ‘working age’ dementia.

Dementia that affects younger people can be rare and difficult to recognise. People can also be very reluctant to accept there is anything wrong when they are otherwise fit and well, and they may put off visiting their doctor.