About mixed dementia
In the most common form of mixed dementia, the abnormal protein deposits associated with Alzheimer's disease
coexist with blood vessel problems linked to vascular dementia. Alzheimer's brain changes also often coexist with Lewy bodies. In some cases, a person may have brain changes linked to all three
conditions — Alzheimer's
dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies.
Researchers don't know exactly how many older adults currently diagnosed with a specific type of dementia actually
have mixed dementia, but autopsies show that the condition may be significantly more common than previously realized.
Mixed dementia symptoms may vary, depending on the types of brain changes involved and the brain regions affected.
In many cases, symptoms may be similar to or even indistinguishable from those of Alzheimer's or another type of dementia. In other cases, a person's symptoms may suggest that more than one type of
dementia is present.
Although mixed dementia is infrequently diagnosed during life, many researchers believe it deserves more attention
because the combination of two or more types of dementia-related brain changes may have a greater impact on the brain than one type alone. Evidence suggests that the presence of more than one type of
dementia-related change may increase the chances a person will develop symptoms.
Many researchers are convinced that growing understanding of mixed dementia,
coupled with recognition that vascular changes are the most common coexisting brain change, may create an opportunity to reduce the number of people who develop dementia. Controlling overall risk
factors for diseases of the heart and blood vessels may also protect the brain from vascular changes.