The brains of persons with Alzheimer’s disease have structures known as plaques and tangles that are not present in the brains of people without Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia researchers believe that these plaques and tangles destroy neurons, which are the basic nerve cells in the brain. The destruction of neurons in different lobes of the brain is responsible for the cognitive changes seen in persons with Alzheimer’s disease. As neurons are destroyed, the size of the brain shrinks.

Alzheimer’s disease is not the only type of dementia. Some conditions cause progressive deterioration in the person’s cognitive ability. These conditions include:

  • Vascular dementia, when blood flow to the brain is reduced
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies, when abnormal proteins accumulate in the brain
  • Frontotemporal lobar degeneration, when nerves in the frontal lobe are damaged
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Head injuries
  • HIV/AIDs

Some individuals may have mixed dementia. This is the presence of characteristics of more than one type or cause of dementia. Some conditions can mimic the symptoms of dementia and if caught early are reversible with treatment. These conditions include:

  • Hydrocephalus, or water on the brain
  • Drug reactions
  • Thyroid problems
  • Depression
  • Poor nutrition
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Infections such as syphilis and meningitis

Regardless of the cause, it is extremely important for persons who experience dementia-like symptoms to see a doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnoses can mean better treatment benefits. It can also provide more time to plan for the future.

Top-Rated Home Care and Support for Dementia & Alzheimer’s Patients

Dementia Helpers offers specialized home care and support services to Alzheimer’s and dementia patients throughout Chicago and the North Shore suburbs including both Cook County and Lake County. We provide our in-home dementia care and specialized memory care services to residents of Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Grayslake, Gurnee, Highland Park, Fort Sheridan, Highwood, Kenilworth, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Libertyville, Lincolnwood, Lincolnshire, Morton Grove, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Round Lake Beach, Skokie, Vernon Hills, Wilmette and Winnetka.

We are backed with the resources of one of America’s largest and most trusted home care service organizations.