(MayoClinic.com) Dementia is a neurological disorder that affects your ability to think, speak, reason, remember and move. While Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, many other conditions also can cause similar symptoms. Some of these disorders get worse with time and cannot be cured. Other types respond so well to treatment, their symptoms may even be reversed.
After Alzheimer's disease, the most common forms of dementia are vascular dementia and Lewy body dementia. Sometimes, a person can have more than one of these problems at the same time. Frontotemporal dementia is less common, but may be mistaken for Alzheimer's.
In vascular dementia, arteries feeding the brain become narrowed or blocked. The onset of symptoms usually is abrupt, frequently occurring after a stroke. However, some forms of vascular dementia progress so slowly that they are difficult to distinguish from Alzheimer's disease. Some people have both Alzheimer's and vascular dementia. Vascular dementia often causes problems with thinking, language, walking, bladder control and vision. Preventing additional strokes by treating underlying diseases, such as high blood pressure, may halt the progression of vascular dementia.
Lewy body dementia
Lewy bodies are abnormal clumps of protein that have been found in the brains of people with Lewy body dementia, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. This suggests that the three ailments are related, or that Lewy body dementia and Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease sometimes coexist in the same person. Some people with Lewy body dementia have experienced improvements in symptoms when treated with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's medications.
Because it affects the areas of the brain that are responsible for judgment and social behavior, frontotemporal dementia can result in socially inappropriate behavior. Symptoms of this form of dementia, which runs in families, usually appear between the ages of 40 and 65.
Several less common brain disorders also can result in dementia.
Many other conditions, some reversible, can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms.
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