9 Diseases Linked to Dementia That You Probably Don’t Know Much AboutThe Alzheimer's Site
While Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, it is certainly not the only one. Dementia may take on different forms, and there are several other conditions and diseases that can lead to its development. Although patients diagnosed with each of these conditions may exhibit markedly different symptoms, some of them are rare, and can be easily mistaken for Alzheimer’s. Sadly, none of these diseases are totally curable.
However, some medications may slow their progression, help maintain normal brain functioning, or alleviate some of the symptoms that accompany them. Below are nine of the lesser known diseases and conditions linked to dementia. If you notice a loved one exhibiting any of these symptoms, it is important to find a specialist who can make a proper diagnosis. Try to arrange an examination for your loved one without raising alarms. Be honest with them, and approach the subject with sensitivity to any opposition they express, which may be rooted in fear.
9. Corticobasal degeneration (CBD)
Corticobasal degeneration (CBD) is a rare disease where parts of the brain break down and begin to shrink. Symptoms of this disease are similar to those of Parkinson’s disease, as it is categorized as a Parkinson plus syndrome. The parts of the brain that are affected include the cerebral cortex and basal ganglia. Patients often exhibit a lack of coordination, rigidity, and may display “alien hand syndrome,” a condition in which a limb suddenly performs jerky motions independent of the rest of the body. As the disease progresses, patients may experience symptoms of dementia and the loss of intellectual abilities.
8. Huntington’s disease
Huntington’s disease is a genetic disease that is similar to Alzheimer’s, except patients may have less problems with recognizing loved ones, and more problems with planning, thinking, and learning new things. It usually strikes adults between the ages of 30 and 45, with symptoms that include involuntary jerking movements, difficulty with speech, and muscle rigidity. Patients may also exhibit obsessive-compulsive behavior. The cognitive problems may worsen over time and eventually lead to dementia.
7. Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH)
Normal pressure hydrocephalus is a brain disease that typically strikes people in their 60s and 70s. It is characterized by excess fluid from the brain and spinal cord accumulating in the brain’s ventricle. This accumulation disrupts thinking, reasoning, and decision-making, and interferes with motor skills. Patients often have trouble with walking and bladder control as the disease progresses.
This disease may be difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms are common with other types of dementia, from which many patients may also be suffering. Doctors sometimes try to drain the excess fluid from the spinal cord as treatment, though medical practitioners have yet to find nonsurgical techniques that are effective. For a proper diagnosis, patients exhibiting these symptoms are recommended to see a neurologist.
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