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Dementia Treatment and Types

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In addition to health issues, dementia causes world-wide economic challenges. The total cost reported in 2010 was $604 billion with 45% of the cost going to informal care, and another 40% of this cost going to formal social care (Chan, 2012, p. 2). These estimates are in high income countries, with another 15% going directly to medical costs. In countries that are considered lower income countries, the informal care costs are higher (Chan, 2012). The result of dementia for many families is devastating and difficult, especially when patients begin to lose their cognitive functioning. Most people are familiar with Alzheimer’s disease as a form of dementia and most of the public knows something about this disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association (2012) states that one out of eight people, over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s disease. Also, 5.4 million people in America have the disease with 200,000 people under the age of 65 having symptoms (Alzheimer’s Association, 2012). These statistics show that dementia is an important disease to study and to understand. Definition of Dementia Dementia is a word that is used to categorize several different types of cognitive impairments. Specifically, Dementia is an umbrella term describing a variety of diseases and conditions that develop when nerve cells in the brain die or no longer function normally (Alzheimer’s Association, 2012, p. 4). When these nerve cells do not function well, the individual’s cognitive reasoning and they begin to lose memory (Alzheimer’s Association, 2012). Many people are familiar with Alzheimer’s disease, but they may not be familiar with other types of dementia. Types of Dementia The following chart provides a list of the types of dementia and their characteristics: Type of Dementia Characteristics Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) Similar to Alzheimer’s but with problems sleeping, visual hallucinations, and rigid muscles that are like in Parkinson movements. Mixed dementia Can be seen like Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. Sometimes there are more than one type of symptom that is seen, so one type of dementia may not be able to be diagnosed. Parkinson’s disease Many patients with Parkinson’s disease have problems with dementia as the disease progresses. Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) There are several types of dementia that are in this category. Many of them suggest that there are changes with the personality or behavior, and difficulty with their speech (language). Crutzfeldt-Jakob disease This is a fatal disorder that creates behavior change and also impairs a person’s coordination as well as their memory. Normal pressure hydrocephalus This individual will have difficulty walking and have memory loss. they will also have problems controlling urination. Alzheimer’s disease The most common type of dementia that is shown in 60 to 80% of diagnoses. The individual forgets names and recent events, may have apathy or depression, and may have confusion and can begin before signs of the disease are present. Vascular dementia Was called multi-infarct or post-stroke dementia and is not as common as Alzheimer’s. An individual may have impaired judgment or may have trouble making plans, but may not have memory loss. (Alzheimer’s Association, 2012) The challenge with dementia is that it can be a part of many different diseases as seen by this chart.