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There are many, many types of dementia. Most involve short-term memory loss, but some cause personality changes and eventually severe problems that lead to death.

If you are thinking of Alzheimer's, in particular, which many people use interchangeably with the word dementia, you could get a very good overview at www.alz.org. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, followed closely by vascular dementia (often because of stroke or other vascular problems).

If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, you should see a doctor. A checkup is great, because many things, from an infection to medications, can cause memory problems and other dementia symptoms.
Carol
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My uncle has vascular dementia after his third major stroke. As Suzanne says, taking steps to prevent stroke risk should help prevent vacular dementia. The are cases of vascular dementia were no evidence of a stroke is present - even mini-strokes. Also, researchers are finding that many dementias are mixed, such as vascular and Alzheimer's.
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Carol, you are right that there are many types of dementia. I think most sources now list Lewy Body Dementia as the second most common form of age-related dementia.

You are also right that many people use "dementia" and "Alzheimer's" interchangeably, including some people in the medical professions. This is quite unfortunate. For example,some drugs that are perfectly suitable for Alzheimer's patients can be disasteous for people with LDB. Almost everyone has heard of Alzheimer's. I think it would be useful to spread the word that there are several distinct types of dementia. Using the terms interchangeably is a poor practice.

And you are right again that a medical checkup is a great first step for sorting out various causes of symptoms that look like dementia. But if the conclusion is dementia, then the next step is to see a specialist. The family doctor is generally not the best person to deal with the highly complex specialized world of brain diseases. This is absolutely nothing against the family doctor -- it is just a reality of the impossibility of keeping up on the huge and ever-changing body of knowledge of every possible disease and chronic condition that can befall us.

Thank you for all you do for us,
Jeanne
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Does a diagnosis of Dementia always mean that Alzheimers will follow? I have been diagnosed with Dementia, but have no problems with my mind. I am having tremors like someone with Parkinson's. That is actually what I expected the diagnosis to be. I want to prepare for what may come, but also want to understand what I and my children may or may not be looking forward too.
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Alzheimers is one type of dementia, but as Carol explains, there are many types. There are two forms of dementia most closely associated with Parkinson's -- Dementia with Lewy Bodies, and Parkinson's with Dementia. Together these are called Lewy Body Dementia. What kind of doctor gave you the dementia diagnosis? Consulting a specialist might be a good idea, if the diagnosis came from a family doctor.

I suggest that you go to the website of Lewy Body Dementia Association, lbda.org, and browse through their many informative articles and if the descriptions seem to fit and you want to chat with others who have LBD or have loved ones with LBD, you could also check out the discuss board.

Sincerely best wishes to you, JerryAnn, as you begin this part of your life journey.
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Thank you all so much! I was first diagnosed a year ago by a neurologist, as I was having trouble with my gait and tremors. I also have a torn miniscus, which was/is causing problems with the gait. I also was/am having tremors, and was pretty sure it was Parkinson's. Both the neurologist and my family doctor have said Dementia, but I don't understand how they came to this diagnosis, since I had no tests, other than them watching the tremors, and the shaking in my legs. I took Dr. Oz's Alzheimers test online and got 100% right. I am being put on a medication to help with the tremors, but nothing else. It is something that will replace the Atenolol I already take.
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I have no idea why the diagnosis is dementia. It would not surprise me if someone with LBD did well on Alzheimer's tests, though, because the two kinds of dementia are very quite different, especially in the early stages. I suggest calling the neurologist's office and asking whether it is Lewy Body Dementia they have in mind. Confirmation of the type of dementia can only be made on autopsy (so far) but it is helpful to know what seems most likely, because the treatment plans can be quite different. Drugs that work for AZ can be very bad for LBD; drugs that only work marginally for AZ can be very effective for LBD. Here are two articles that may interest you:
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