Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) represent the most common dementias that get progressively worse over the years and for which there’s currently no cure. William Shankle, MS, MD, FACP, and the team at Shankle Clinic in Newport Beach, California, have years of experience helping patients with ADRD and their families, providing the most advanced medical care and supporting their health and well-being with lifestyle recommendations so they can continue to enjoy the best life possible. If you need help with memory loss or other symptoms of ADRD, call the office or book an appointment online.
ADRD includes four types of dementia: Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia, and frontotemporal dementia. You can also have two or more types of dementia, a condition called mixed dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed in 60-80% of all adults with dementia. Most people are 65 or older when they’re diagnosed, but you can develop early-onset Alzheimer’s in your 40s or 50s.
Alzheimer’s disease is caused by neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques that destroy brain cells. Neurofibrillary tangles are twisted pieces of tau protein inside nerve cells, while amyloid plaques consist of a protein called beta-amyloid that accumulates outside nerves.
The other Alzheimer’s-associated dementias have different causes:
Lewy body dementia develops when proteins called Lewy bodies accumulate in your brain. Parkinson’s dementia is also caused by a buildup of Lewy bodies.
Frontotemporal dementia refers to several disorders caused by abnormal protein growth. These disorders initially affect different areas of the brain than other types of dementia, damaging nerves in the frontal area (behind your forehead) and temporal area (behind your ears).
Vascular dementia occurs when blood flow to your brain is restricted by vascular conditions such as stroke or atherosclerosis. It’s estimated that 5-10% of all cases of dementia are caused by vascular disease.
Memory loss is the earliest symptom of Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia. By comparison, frontotemporal dementia initially causes changes in behavior and personality, with memory loss occurring at a later stage.
The most prominent symptoms of vascular dementia depend on the severity of the blood vessel damage and the part of your brain affected. You may have minimal memory loss and a more significant decline in other cognitive skills.
As a group, however, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias cause:
As Lewy body dementia progresses, you develop motor problems such as rigid muscles and slow movement. Alzheimer’s disease progresses through stages with worsening symptoms. By the late stage, Alzheimer’s patients lose the ability to walk, sit, and swallow.
The team at Shankle Clinic provides long-term support for you and your family. They recommend lifestyle changes that improve your health and prescribe medications that relieve your symptoms and/or slow down disease progression, depending on the type of dementia.
In addition to offering suggestions for managing difficult behaviors, hallucinations, and mood swings, they help you find counseling if needed.
To get help for ADRD, call Shankle Clinic or schedule an appointment online.
Notes: Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias