Dementia trackers help people with dementia remain living independent in their own homes. They also give families peace of mind that their loved ones are safe. They includes an optional SOS button. They also include fall detection. They have GPS tracking which means loved ones can locate the alarm user instantly in the family & friends app. They include geo-fencing, which can help people at risk of wandering stay safe.
Types of DementiaArticle by Daniel Westhead
Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability due to disease or injury. Dementia affects people of all ages but is most common in older adults. There are many different types of dementia, each with its own unique set of symptoms and causes.
A diagnosis of dementia is undoubtably upsetting for both the patient and their loved ones, however by understanding more about the type of dementia that has been identified, you are in a better position to take early steps to plan for your care, treatment of symptoms and how best to manage day to day life.
With this in mind, we explore the common forms of dementia.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of all cases. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects the brain cells responsible for memory and cognition. Symptoms typically begin around age 65 and include memory loss, confusion, disorientation, and difficulty with daily activities.
No one knows exactly what causes Alzheimer's disease; however, it is believed to be a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors.
Usually the initial symptoms are mild, however, as the disease progresses, they become more severe. In the later stages of Alzheimer's disease, people may experience delusions, hallucinations, and difficulty speaking and swallowing.
While there is currently no cure for the condition, there are treatments available to help manage the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia, making up around 20% - 30% of dementia cases. It is caused by damage to the brain's blood vessels, which can lead to reduced blood flow and oxygen to the brain.
Vascular dementia is most often triggered by a stroke - either a major stroke, or sometimes by “silent strokes” – bleeds to the brain that the patient will be unaware of. However, it can also be caused by other conditions that damage the blood vessels, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and atherosclerosis.
Symptoms will vary, depending on what part of the brain was damaged by the stroke – however unlike Alzheimer’s, where often the first noticeable changes are memory problems – in the case of vascular dementia, the initial signs may be more behaviour based – such as finding planning or organising more difficult, or having trouble making decisions.
While vascular dementia does not have a cure, some treatments can help to treat the symptoms and also slow down the progression of the condition.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB)
Around 10% to 15% of dementia patients are diagnosed with Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
The condition is characterised by the presence of Lewy bodies in the brain, which are abnormal protein deposits that damage nerve cells. It's not clear why the deposits develop but it’s thought that part of the problem is that the proteins affect the brain's normal functions by interfering with signals sent between brain cells.
Many symptoms of DLB are similar to those of other types of dementia, however there are some symptoms that are more likely which include hallucinations, rapid swings between alertness or sleepiness, and disturbed sleep and dreams.
Parkinson’s Disease Dementia
Around 50% to 80% of people who have the nervous system disorder will get this type of dementia. On average the symptoms of dementia may develop around 10 years after the person first gets Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s is progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects the brain cells responsible for movement. Symptoms typically begin around age 60 and include tremor, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty with balance.
However, developing dementia is not a certain outcome of the condition. Certain factors at the time of Parkinson’s diagnosis may increase future dementia risk, including advanced age, greater severity of motor symptoms and mild cognitive impairment.
Frontotemporal dementia is characterised by shrinkage of the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, which leads to changes in personality and behaviour. Put simply if someone has FTD they have developed cell damage in areas of the brain that control planning, judgement, emotions, speech and movement.
This type of dementia tends to come on earlier than Alzheimer’s Disease and, in most cases, people are diagnosed with FTD between their forties and early sixties.
The most common noticeable symptoms tend to be behaviour based as opposed to memory problems, so someone with Frontotemporal dementia may present with changes in mood and behaviour, difficulty with language, and problems with have issues with executive function.
Huntington’s disease is a rare inherited neurodegenerative disorder that causes a progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain.
Accounting to around 5% - 10% of all dementia cases, Huntington’s Disease symptoms can start to present at a much earlier age than many other forms of dementia. Typical symptoms may include involuntary movement, mood swings and depression and difficulty concentrating.
Huntington's disease is caused by a faulty gene that results in parts of the brain becoming gradually damaged over time and people are usually only at risk of developing it if one of their parents has or had it.
While there is no cure for Huntington’s, treatments are available to help alleviate some of the symptoms including medicines for mood swings and depression, or to help reduce involuntary movements.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)
This is a rare degenerative brain disorder that is caused by the build-up of abnormal, infectious proteins in the brain known as a prion.
Prions are misfolded prion proteins that build up in the brain and cause other prion proteins to misfold as well. This causes the brain cells to die, releasing more prions to infect other brain cells.
Eventually, clusters of brain cells are killed, and deposits of misfolded prion protein called plaques may appear in the brain. Prion infections also cause small holes to develop in the brain, so it becomes sponge-like.
The damage to the brain causes the mental and physical impairment associated with CJD, and eventually leads to death.
Although the disease is incredibly rare, there are various forms of CJD, and they have different causes. Unlike most forms of dementia, it is possible to be infected with CJD although this is highly unlikely.
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is caused by a deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1) in the diet, which leads to damage to the brain's nerve cells. It is most often caused by chronic alcohol abuse but can also be a result of prolonged vomiting and eating disorders.
This particular syndrome has two separate stages. Initially their will be brief time where the patient has intense swelling of the brain. This stage is known as Wernicke’s encephalopathy, and this can be reversed by both stopping drinking alcohol and being given injections of high doses of thiamine and other B Vitamins.
However, if left untreated it will develop into Korsakoff’s syndrome what which stage the damage to brain is more difficult to recover from.
The most common symptoms of the condition are problems with memory and difficulty understanding new information. They will be less able to form new memories, particularly of events that happened after they developed the condition.
Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus is rare – accounting for around 1% - 2% of all cases of dementia.
It is caused by a build-up of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, which leads to increased pressure on the brain's nerve cells. Symptoms typically begin around age 60 and include difficulty walking, urinary incontinence, and dementia.
Normal pressure hydrocephalus is a treatable condition. In most cases, treatment involves surgically placing a shunt in the brain to drain away the excess fluid. While the success of treatment with shunts varies from person to person, some people recover almost completely after treatment and have a good quality of life. Early diagnosis and treatment improves the chance of a good recovery.
It’s understandable that having a diagnosis of dementia can be upsetting for both the patient and their loved ones, however there are a wealth of treatments are resources that can help someone with dementia to have a great quality of life.
Here are SureSafe we have several devices that help to give peace of mind to dementia patients and their carers, with features such as GPS tracking, geofencing and fall detection. Our dementia tracker has been created with those suffering from any of the conditions above in mind.
If you would like some advice on the best device for you or a family member, why not get in touch with us on 0800 112 3201 where a member of our team can provide information on the best options for your situation.