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Types of Dementia

Are There Treatments for Dementia?

Some forms of dementia can be treated. These include dementia caused by:

  • Chronic alcohol or drug abuse if the person stops the abuse early enough
  • Tumors that can be removed
  • Subdural hematoma -- a blood clot beneath the outer covering of the brain that results from a broken blood vessel, usually as a result of a head injury
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus (a brain disorder that occurs when the flow of cerebrospinal fluid is blocked)
  • Metabolic disorders, such as a vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Hypothyroidism -- a condition that results from low levels of thyroid secretion
  • Hypoglycemia -- a condition that results from low blood sugar

Non-treatable causes of dementia include:

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Vascular dementia
  • Dementias associated with Parkinson's disease and similar disorders
  • AIDS dementia complex
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

How Common Is Dementia?

Although dementia has always been somewhat common, it has become increasingly recognized in recent decades due to improvements in diagnostic techniques. In addition, people have longer life expectancies now, and thus are more likely to develop dementia as a function of older age. About 5% to 8% of all people over the age of 65 have some form of dementia, and this number doubles every five years after that. It is estimated that as many as half of people in their 80s suffer from some degree of dementia.

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Richard Senelick, MD on July 07, 2012

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