Facts About Other Dementias
Not everyone who shows signs of dementia has Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is an umbrella term that covers many separate diseases. It is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. Therefore, dementia is not a disease; it is a syndrome, or group of symptoms, associated with many separate underlying diseases. There are over 20 different types of dementing diseases but the most common is Alzheimer’s, accounting for 60-80 percent of the cases. Individuals may have more than one type of dementia.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a degenerative brain disorder that leads to dementia and, ultimately, death. Symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) sometimes resemble those of other dementia-like brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, but Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease usually progresses much more rapidly. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease captured public attention in the 1990s when some people in the United Kingdom developed a form of the disease — variant CJD (vCJD) — after eating meat from diseased cattle. However, “classic” Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease has not been linked to contaminated beef. Although serious, CJD is rare, and vCJD is the least common form. Worldwide, there is an estimated one case of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease diagnosed per million people each year, most commonly in older adults.