Common and Rare Types of Dementia


Watch a video that discusses the types of dementia and the importance of diagnosis (1 minute 45 seconds long).

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, but there are a number of other types. Each type of dementia has a different cause and affects people in different ways. It may be difficult to tell which type of dementia a person has because they all have some symptoms in common; a thorough doctor’s examination is needed to make a correct diagnosis.

Below, the most common types of dementia are listed in order of how common they are. All are progressive dementia (get worse over time) and tend to be seen most often in older age groups. It is possible to have more than one of these types of dementia at the same time.

Most Common Types of Dementia

  • Alzheimer’s Disease – The most common type of dementia. It affects memory first and later progresses to affect other cognitive (brain) abilities, such as speech, ability to reason, and movement.
  • Vascular or Multi-Infarct Dementia – This type of dementia is often the result of a stroke in which small areas of the brain are irreversibly damaged. Onset of vascular dementia is often sudden. Symptoms depend upon area of brain affected, but often memory and other cognitive functions, such as decision-making, are impaired.
  • Dementia with Lewy Bodies – Leads to a decrease in cognitive ability, hallucinations, movement problems, and delusions
  • Frontotemporal Dementias – Affects personality and speech but not memory.

Less Common Types of Dementia

The following forms of dementia are less common and vary as to the age of onset:


Types of Dementia

Source: Alzheimer's Australia
Description: This web page categorizes the various types of dementia, and offers links for each type listed with more information.

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Memory and Aging Center: Introduction to Education

Source: UCSF: Memory and Aging Center
Description: This webpage includes information on the prevalence of the different forms of dementia in addition to basic information on dementia.

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Dementia: Hope Through Research

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Description: This web page discusses subtypes of dementia (cortical versus subcortical, primary versus secondary), as well as various forms of dementia, causes, and treatments. It also includes information about past and current research, with links for more information. Secondary dementias and dementias in children are discussed, as are different conditions which can cause dementia. Sections are also offered for causes, risk factors, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, research and care.

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Types of Dementia

Source: The Cleveland Clinic Health System
Description: This webpage gives a brief description of dementia, lists causes of dementia other than Alzheimer's, and discusses cortical versus sub cortical dementia types.

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The Alzheimer Europe: Other Forms of Dementia

Source: Alzheimer-Europe
Description: This webpage contains a list of rare forms of dementia which links to information on each form.

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