The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, but it is definitely not the only one.

Below you will find a quick reference guide to the common types of dementia.

Types of dementia

Alzheimer’s disease: Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, and close to 5.1 million Americans over the age of 65 are affected by this debilitating disease. To date, there is no definitive test to diagnose the condition in living patients. Although the progression of Alzheimer’s cannot be stopped or reversed, an accurate early diagnosis will help patients and their families plan for the future and seek symptomatic relief.

Vascular dementia: Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. Vascular dementia can be caused by a series of small strokes brought on by a number of factors:

Blood flow to the brain has been interrupted due to stroke.
Blood stops flowing to the brain for longer than a few seconds, the brain cannot receive oxygen, so brain cells start dying as a result.
Silent strokes show no symptoms, so damage can be done without the patient realizing it.
Large strokes can affect strength, sensation, and other parts of the nervous system, contributing to vascular dementia.
Other risk factors for vascular dementia include:

Hardening of the arteries
High blood pressure
Vascular dementia can be further categorized into multi-infarct dementia and Binswanger’s disease.

Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB): Lewy body disease – or dementia with Lewy bodies – is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.

Lewy bodies are deposits of protein in nerve cells, impairing neurological communication and causing cell death as a result. At this point, researchers don’t really understand why they appear in the brain or how they lead to dementia. They do know that Lewy bodies are the underlying cause of a number of progressive diseases that impact the brain and nervous system, particularly dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

When the Lewy bodies are in the outer layer of the brain, the patient tends to have more problems linked to mental abilities. As LBD progresses, many people experience hallucinations. They might see animals or objects that aren’t really there. They also can have hearing problems. They might hear sounds such as knocking or footsteps that are not real. Their own walking can be stooped and unbalanced (as commonly seen in Parkinson’s patients). Violent movements can be common at night.

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