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Dementia is the loss of memory and brain function caused by several different conditions. The major types of dementia are vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia also can be caused by Parkinson’s disease.
Dignity Health hospitals use a team approach when treating dementia in Arizona. Geriatricians, neurologists, social workers, nurse practitioners, and licensed practical nurses — all experts in their field — work together to deliver compassionate and personalized care for each of our patients. If you or a loved one are experiencing dementia symptoms, call us at 855.231.6180 or use our online tool to Find a Doctor at Dignity Health who specializes in treating dementia.
We offer dementia treatment and other neurological care at:
The Huger Mercy Living Center at Barrow Neurological Institute provides an innovative, state-of-the-art dementia care program. A social, activity-based model is delivered in a homelike setting with around-the-clock care.
Dementia is not a normal part of aging; it is a disease process. The cause of dementia depends on the type.
Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the buildup of tau protein and other abnormal structures in the brain. It interferes with nerve cell connections. Doctors don’t know why these abnormal structures form or why they alter brain function. Some people have an inherited form of Alzheimer’s passed down through families.
Vascular dementia, or small vessel disease, occurs when there isn’t enough oxygen-rich blood reaching brain tissue. Unlike stroke, vascular dementia is caused by poor circulation through small vessels — capillaries and arterioles. Blood clots and fatty plaque deposits are often responsible for reduced blood flow to the brain. Risk factors include smoking, coronary artery disease, and high blood pressure.
Lewy body dementia is the result of the buildup of a protein called alpha-synuclein into an abnormal structure called a Lewy body. Lewy bodies reduce levels of the brain chemical dopamine and damage specific parts of the brain. Risk factors include a family history of Lewy body dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
Dementia symptoms can vary based on the type of dementia, but tend to include:
Symptoms tend to start off mild and progress to severe. Some types of dementia take a slow, gradual course, while others come on fairly suddenly.
There is no cure for dementia, so treatment focuses on preserving brain function and reducing the severity of symptoms. Learn more about dementia treatment and prevention services at Dignity Health.