Basic knowledge that you should have about dementia

Do you know about dementia?

Dementia is a collective term for symptoms and
conditions caused by some disease.
Dementia is different from forgetfulness due to aging.

A lot of us tend to have a short memory and may be unable to remember names with age. Such “forgetfulness” is caused by brain aging. However, dementia is different from “forgetfulness due to aging.” Dementia represents symptoms and conditions caused by the destruction of neurons in the brain due to some disease. When dementia progresses, the ability to understand and make judgments is gradually lost, interfering with the social life and daily life of the patients.

Differences between forgetfulness due to aging and dementia

Three main types of dementia account for most cases of dementia

Alzheimer-type dementia accounts for approximately half of all cases of dementia. Dementia with Lewy bodies is the second most common cause of dementia, followed by vascular dementia. These are called the “three main types of dementia” and account for approximately 85% of all cases of dementia. The remaining 15% of cases of dementia are secondary to underlying causes that can be cured, as explained below.

Source: Website of the Dementia with Lewy Bodies Support Network

Can dementia be cured? Yes, some relatively less common types can be cured.

In some patients with dementia symptoms, the symptoms may be cured by treating the underlying cause. In order to detect the underlying cause early and initiate appropriate treatment, it is important for people who think they may have dementia to see a specialist early.

Dementia types that can be cured

Normal-pressure hydrocephalus: Excessive cerebrospinal fluid accumulation in the ventricles can result in compression of the brain and dementia symptoms. Chronic subdural hematoma: In cases with a history of head trauma, a blood clot could be formed between the skull and the brain, causing compression of the brain and dementia symptoms.

Other causes include brain tumors, hypothyroidism, malnutrition, drugs, alcohol, etc.

Quick understanding of the three main types of dementia

The table below compares the characteristics of Alzheimer-type dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and vascular dementia. Please refer to this table when you think that “you many have dementia.”

Characteristics of each of the three main types of dementia

Supervised by
Kenji Kosaka, Professor Emeritus, Yokohama City University
Katsuyoshi Mizukami, Professor, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba

Diseases with various dementia&dementia symptoms