Understanding Different Types of Dementia
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of neurological conditions affecting the brain that get worse over time.
Share this infographic to help spread the word about four different types of dementia. Click on the social media icons on this page, or copy and paste the URL and post it to your account (Twitter, Facebook, etc.).
Share on social media
Copy and paste these messages into social media to help spread the word about different types of dementia:
- Read and share this infographic from NIA to learn more about four different types of dementia. https://go.usa.gov/xtnug
- Learn about four different types of dementia, including what’s happening in the brain, diagnosis, and more in this infographic from NIA. https://go.usa.gov/xtnuk
- Did you know there are different types of dementia? Read about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in this infographic from NIA. https://go.usa.gov/xtnun
Understanding different types of dementia
As we age, it’s normal to lose some neurons in the brain. People living with dementia, however, experience far greater loss. Many neurons stop working, lose connections with other brain cells, and eventually die. At first, symptoms can be mild, but they get worse over time.
Read on to learn more about four different types of dementia.
[Note: Below is a chart of four columns and five rows that describes what’s happening in the brain, the symptoms, the typical age of diagnosis, diagnosis, and treatment of four types of dementia.]
Types of dementia
Alzheimer’s Disease, Frontotemporal Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, and Vascular Dementia
What is happening in the brain?
Alzheimer’s disease: Abnormal deposits of proteins form amyloid plaques and tau tangles throughout the brain.
Frontotemporal dementia: Abnormal amounts or forms of tau and TDP-43 proteins accumulate inside neurons in the frontal and temporal lobes.
Lewy body dementia: Abnormal deposits of the alpha-synuclein protein, called “Lewy bodies,” affect the brain’s chemical messengers.
Vascular dementia: Conditions, such as blood clots, disrupt blood flow in the brain.
Note that these changes are just one piece of a complex puzzle that scientists are studying to understand the underlying causes of these forms of dementia and others.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
- Wandering and getting lost
- Repeating questions
- Problems recognizing friends and family
- Impulsive behavior
- Cannot communicate
Symptoms of frontotemporal dementia
Behavioral and Emotional
- Difficulty planning and organizing
- Impulsive behaviors
- Emotional flatness or excessive emotions
- Shaky hands
- Problems with balance and walking
- Difficulty making or understanding speech
There are several types of frontotemporal disorders, and symptoms can vary by type.
Symptoms of Lewy body dementia
- Inability to concentrate, pay attention, or stay alert
- Disorganized or illogical ideas
- Muscle rigidity
- Loss of coordination
- Reduced facial expression
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
Symptoms of vascular dementia
- Forgetting current or past events
- Misplacing items
- Trouble following instructions or learning new information
- Hallucination or delusions
- Poor judgment
Typical age of diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease: Mid-60s and above, with some cases in mid-30s to 60s
Typical age of diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia: Between 45 and 64
Typical age of diagnosis of Lewy body dementia: 50 or older
Typical age of diagnosis of vascular dementia: Over 65
Diagnosis for these four types of dementia
Symptoms can be similar among different types of dementia, and some people have more than one form of dementia, which can make an accurate diagnosis difficult. Symptoms can also vary from person to person. Doctors may ask for a medical history, complete a physical exam, and order neurological and laboratory tests to help diagnose dementia.
Treatment for these four types of dementia
There is currently no cure for these types of dementia, but some treatments are available. Speak with your doctor to find out what might work best for you.
Living with dementia can be challenging, but there are ways to manage it. Learn more about the types of dementia and other conditions that can cause dementia.