Sometimes, dementia is due to multiple medical conditions. In these cases, it's often called mixed dementia. The most common form of mixed dementia is due to both Alzheimer's and vascular disease. Because dementia can be due to so many disorders, obtaining an accurate diagnosis is imperative in order to properly treat the dementia.
1. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)
2. Head TraumaDementia due to head trauma can result from a single major head injury or from repeated head injuries, such as in professional sports. The degree and nature of impairment depends on the location and severity of the brain injury. People with dementia due to head trauma often experience amnesia, memory loss, irritability, attention problems, depression, apathy, and other personality changes. This kind of dementia is most common among young males who engage in risk-taking behaviors.
4. Huntington's DiseaseHuntington's disease is an inherited condition affecting cognition, emotion, and movement. It can occur as early as 4 years of age or as late as 85 years of age, but it usually develops in the late 30s or early 40s. The primary symptoms of dementia due to Huntington's are difficulty retrieving memories, problems with executive functioning, and impaired judgment. Memory problems become more severe as the disease progresses, and delusions and hallucinations may occur. Children of those with Huntington's disease have a 50% chance of also developing the disease.
6. Normal Pressure HydrocephalusNormal pressure hydrocephalus occurs when there is an abnormal increase in cerebrospinal fluid in the brain's cavities, which puts pressure on the brain. In addition to typical symptoms of dementia, people with dementia due to normal pressure hydrocephalus often experience problems with walking and balance, as well as impaired bladder control.
7. Parkinson's Disease
8. Pick's DiseasePick's disease is the most common of the frontotemporal dementias, which affect the frontal and temporal (side) lobes of the brain. Most commonly occurring between 50 and 60 years of age, Pick's disease involves drastic personality changes, deterioration of social skills, and a lack of empathy and emotion. These signs usually occur before problems with memory and other typical signs of dementia. In the advanced stages of the disease, the person may become extremely apathetic or agitated, to the point that conducting a diagnostic workup is too difficult.
10. Wernicke-Korsakoff SyndromeWernicke-Korsakoff syndrome results from a deficiency in thiamine (Vitamin B1) and is often due to chronic, severe alcoholism. It can also result from general malnutrition, eating disorders, or the effects of chemotherapy. Dementia due to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome involves confusion, apathy, hallucinations, communication problems, and severe memory impairment.
11. SourcesAmerican Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Vascular Dementia. Mayo Clinic. 2007. http://www.mayo clinic.com/print/vascular-dementia/DS00934/DSECTION=all&METHOD=print
What is Lewy Body Dementia? Lewy Body Dementia Association. 2007. http://www.lewybodydementia.org/lbdinfo.php