4 Neurological Conditions That Can Cause Dementia

Jun 17, 2024
Did you know that dementia is a culmination of several different neurological conditions? Learn more about what causes mental decline, and find out the importance of early detection.

Dementia affects your cognitive abilities, memory, and behavior, so it isn't just a single disorder but a culmination of various neurological conditions. 

Although Alzheimer's disease is the most prevalent cause of dementia, several other lesser-known conditions can lead to cognitive decline and memory loss. 

At New England Institute for Neurology and Headache, we place importance on learning more about these conditions to help with early detection and provide effective management.

Here are four neurological conditions that may contribute to the development of dementia:

1. Frontotemporal dementia (FTD)

Unlike Alzheimer's disease, which primarily affects your memory, FTD predominantly impacts your behavior and personality. It’s caused by the progressive degeneration of your brain’s frontal and temporal lobes, leading to changes in behavior, emotions, and language skills.

Those with FTD may exhibit socially inappropriate behavior, apathy, or loss of empathy. As the disease progresses, language difficulties become more pronounced, eventually leading to significant communication impairments.

2. Lewy body dementia (LBD)

LBD occurs when you have abnormal protein deposits called Lewy bodies in your brain. These deposits interfere with your brain's normal functioning, leading to a decline in cognitive abilities, visual hallucinations, fluctuating alertness, and movement problems similar to Parkinson's disease.

For those who have LBD, they may experience vivid visual hallucinations, which can be distressing for both the affected individual and their caregivers.

3. Vascular dementia

Vascular dementia occurs as a result of reduced blood flow to your brain, typically due to stroke or small vessel disease. 

Your brain relies on a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients carried by your blood, and any disruption in this supply can lead to cognitive impairment. 

Symptoms of vascular dementia can vary depending on the location and severity of the brain damage but often include difficulties with planning, organizing, and decision-making. Vascular dementia can also cause mood swings, depression, or apathy.

4. Huntington’s disease (HD)

HD is a hereditary neurodegenerative disorder caused by a mutation in your HTT gene. It primarily affects your movement, leading to involuntary movements, muscle rigidity, and difficulty walking. 

However, cognitive decline is also a hallmark feature of HD. It can cause impairments in your memory, judgment, and executive function. 

As the disease progresses, individuals with HD may develop dementia-like symptoms, including personality changes and difficulty with speech and swallowing.

If you or a loved one shows signs of a neurological condition, make an appointment with our expert medical team for an early diagnosis and intervention. We can help manage your medical diagnosis, slow the disease’s progression, and improve your quality of life.

Schedule a visit at our Stamford, Connecticut, office today by phone, or click here to book online.