Mixed Dementia

What Are The Causes & Risk Factors?

In mixed dementia, a person typically shows symptoms from at least two types of  dementia. Often, this will be Alzheimer’s dementia and vascular dementia, but it  can also occur with Alzheimer’s and Lewy body dementia. Some risk factors for  Alzheimer’s and vascular mixed dementia include:

Caregiver working on a puzzle with elderly woman
  • Increasing age. Mixed dementia is more common in people aged 75 and older.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Blood vessel damage in the brain.

What Are The Symptoms?

Because there is a lot of symptom overlap between different kinds of dementia,  mixed dementia can be hard to diagnose. It is also possible for a person to show  a combination of symptoms from different dementia types. Symptoms may vary  depending on the damage and brain areas involved.

What Can You Expect?

  • People will usually have more of one type of dementia than another (called  predominance). 
  • The damage caused by two or more dementias can have a stronger effect on a  person’s brain, may increase the likelihood of developing symptoms, and can  affect disease progression.
  • A person may show better treatment outcomes if other health conditions are  under control, like high blood pressure.

What Treatments Are Available?

Most people who have mixed dementia have only been diagnosed with one type  of dementia, so treatment is typically chosen based on this. There is currently no  cure for mixed dementia. 

  • Medications. There are no medications specifically designed to treat mixed  dementia. When Alzheimer’s symptoms are present, a doctor may prescribe  medications to treat this. If vascular disease is present, they may be prescribed  medications to address underlying problems and prevent strokes.  
  • Therapies. Physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy can  help people with mixed dementia cope with physical symptoms of the disease  and engage in important activities. They may also benefit from cognitive  rehabilitation, cognitive stimulation therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy  (CBT), and reminiscence therapy. 
  • Lifestyle Changes. If vascular dementia is involved, people may benefit from  monitoring/treating issues with blood pressure, which may help slow disease  progression. A healthy diet and regular exercise may also slow progression of  cognitive symptoms.

Additional Resources

  • Caregiver assisting man out of bed

    Frontotemporal Dementia

  • Caregiver helping woman walk

    Lewy Body Dementia

  • Caregiver reading elderly woman a book

    Vascular Dementia

  • Man and woman talking over coffee

    Warning Signs Of Dementia