Harvard Men's Health Watch

Dementia: More causes than just Alzheimer's disease

Sometimes dementia has multiple causes. Understanding the diagnosis helps with planning for medical care.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia in older adults—present in up to 80% of cases. As Alzheimer's progresses, abnormal proteins start to collect in the brain and affect memory, reasoning, planning, and other brain functions.

But other causes may contribute to dementia. A common one in older people is vascular dementia, which means clogs in the arteries channeling blood to the brain. Another form is dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), also caused by buildup of abnormal proteins.

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