There are four main types of dementia. They include Alzheimer’s dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Lewy body dementia and vascular dementia. Although these are the major forms of dementia, the disease process can be caused by any other disease that damages the brain tissue or its associated blood vessels. For example, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and mad cow (Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease) disease also cause significant damage to brain tissue leading the development of dementia. Many forms of dementia are caused by damage to brain tissues that release abnormal proteins (Tau proteins and amyloid proteins) that lead to plaque and protein tangle formation. These protein plaques and tangles inhibit transmission of electrical impulses necessary for clear thought process and physical function. Vascular types of dementia are caused by damage to blood vessels in the brain that lead to rupture or blockage of the vessels that supply vital blood flow to the brain.
Symptoms of Dementia
Signs and symptoms of all types of dementia are similar due to the lack of blood flow or electrical impulse transmission as a results of the specific type or cause for the dementia. Common signs and symptoms include slowing of the individual’s thought process, trouble remembering how to complete routine tasks, confusion, anxiety, depression, paranoia, impaired judgement, memory loss, sleep disturbances, decreased motivation and even hallucination.
Treating Dementia or Treatment of Dementia
There is currently no cure for any of the forms of dementia. There are several pharmaceutical regimens that are commonly prescribed to help with symptom management and to possibly slow progression. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is commonly used to treat patients who suffer from dementia due to its ability to stimulate permanent new blood vessel growth (angiogenesis). These new vessels are able to provide long term benefit from increased blood flow and oxygenation to vital brain tissues.