Updated: Sep 21, 2021
Despite popular opinion, Dementia is not a single disease but an overall term that covers a wide range of specific medical conditions. Disorders grouped under the general term “dementia” are caused by abnormal brain changes which trigger a decline in thinking skills, also known as cognitive abilities, severe enough to impair daily life and independent function. They also affect behaviour, feelings and relationships.
The disease can take many forms but there are a handful that affect the majority of those living with dementia in the UK including:
Named after Alois Alzheimer, the doctor who first discovered it, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 6 out of every 10 people with dementia in the UK making it the most common form. More than 520,000 people in the UK have this form of dementia with this number expected to rise.
Affecting around 150,000 people in the UK, Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia and is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the brain, for example a lack of blood flow caused by a stroke.
Dementia with Lewy bodies
The third most common type of dementia, DLB is thought to affect around 100,000 people in the UK currently and is caused by a build-up of small clumps of protein, called Lewy bodies, inside the nerve cells of the brain. These Lewy bodies affect the way in which the nerve cells communicate.
Only affecting around 1 in 20 of those with dementia, FTD is a much rarer form that predominantly affects people between the ages of 45-64, which is younger than the more common forms of the disease which are more likely to affect those over 65 years of age. Symptoms of FTD include changes to a person’s behaviour and/or personality and difficulties with speech.
With all this information in mind, it’s clear that there is no set path that a dementia diagnosis will take which is why a care provider that is able to recognise and adapt to changing needs quickly is vital. Dementia is a disease that has the most personal meaning to Adelfi Care and we have seen first-hand how every journey is unique which is why the care we provide is 100% tailored to the needs of every individual.