Mixed dementia, sometimes known clinically as "Dementia - multifactoral", is a dementia condition characterized by symptoms and abnormalities of more than one type of dementia at once. Usually, mixed dementia entails a combination of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. In other cases, mixed dementia involves characteristics from both Alzheimer's disease and Lewy bodies, and sometimes mixed dementia can even entail a combination of all three of these diseases.
Recent research is discovering that mixed dementia may be much more common than previously presumed. This research shows that a large proportion of dementia sufferers over the age of 80 may have mixed dementia, with characteristics of both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.
It's difficult to clearly identify mixed dementia, due to symptoms which may be nearly indistinguishable from Alzheimer's symptoms or symptoms of another type of dementia. Mixed dementia symptoms also vary based on the specific dementia conditions present. Research is currently not clear on how mixed dementia treatment and symptoms differ from regular dementia, though many are emphasizing that mixed dementia is clinically important because the combination of two dementia conditions may speed up the progression of dementia or have a compound, greater impact on the brain.
Those suffering from mixed dementia may see a combination of Alzheimer's disease, vascular disease, and lewy bodies symptoms.
A clinical diagnosis of mixed dementia is difficult to obtain, as at this point scientists are largely unable to measure dementia-related brain changes in living individuals.
Little is known about the specific causes and risk factors of mixed dementia as compared to other dementia conditions. However, the high incidences of mixed dementia in older individuals may suggest that age is a contributor to developing mixed dementia. Risk factors for Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, and lewy body dementia all factor in to the incidence of mixed dementia.
As mixed dementia often involves vascular dementia, vascular risk factors may be central to the development of mixed dementia. For example, hypertension and high blood pressure may increase the risk of developing mixed dementia.
Unfortunately mixed dementia cannot be cured, though research on possible treatment continues. There are, however, alternative treatments and medications that can be used to treat symptoms of mixed dementia. Specific treatments and medication for mixed dementia will depend on the dementia conditions in question.
As mixed dementia cannot be cured or slowed, risk reduction is currently one of the most important areas of dementia research. Current research suggests that diet, alcohol abuse, exercise, cardiovascular disease, cholesterol levels, incidences of mild cognitive impairment, diabetes, and smoking are all contributors to the development of dementia. Positive lifestyle changes, especially during middle age, can be integral to dementia prevention.
Preventative measures include:
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