Though there are several types of progressive dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common, affecting 60-80% of all patients diagnosed with dementia. Beata I. Styka, MD, in Palos Heights, Illinois, has years of experience providing compassionate and comprehensive care to patients with all types of dementia. If you’re worried about memory loss or a decline in thinking skills, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
Dementia is a general term referring to numerous conditions that cause memory loss and a decline in language and thinking abilities. All types of dementia develop due to damaged brain cells, but the underlying cause of the damage differs.
Some types of dementia are caused by medical conditions such as thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies, and excessive alcohol use. When Dr. Styka treats the underlying condition, your dementia typically improves.
However, most brain changes that lead to dementia are permanent, and they get worse over time. The four primary types of progressive dementia are:
Alzheimer’s disease develops when small pieces of proteins accumulate inside and outside nerves.
The second most common type, vascular dementia develops when blood flow to your brain is blocked due to a stroke or vascular disease.
This type of dementia is caused by an accumulation of proteins called Lewy bodies. If Lewy bodies develop after you’re diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, the condition is called Parkinson’s dementia.
Frontotemporal dementia is also caused by high levels of proteins. However, it initially affects a different area of the brain than other dementias.
All dementias cause memory loss, confusion, and difficulty with planning, concentrating, and problem solving. However, memory loss is usually the first symptom of Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia, with personality changes occurring in later stages.
By comparison, the earliest signs of frontotemporal dementia are changes in personality, behavior, and language. Then memory loss occurs as the disease progresses.
Dr. Styka offers integrative care to patients with dementia and their families, providing medical care and helping them find the support they need as the disease progresses.
She may initially screen for memory problems using a simple cognitive test. For a more in-depth assessment, however, Dr. Styka uses Cognivue®, an FDA-cleared computerized cognitive test.
Several medications are FDA-approved to improve symptoms or slow the progression of moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease. These medications may also help patients with other types of progressive dementia.
Dr. Styka teaches about the stages of dementia and the type of care needed at each stage. She may recommend behavioral therapy to improve symptoms such as anxiety, agitation, and aggressive behaviors.
If you’re worried about memory loss or dementia in yourself or a loved one, call Beata I. Styka, MD, or schedule an appointment online.