3.4. Identify prevalence rates for different types of dementia

3.4 Identify prevalence rates for different types of dementia

Dementia Awareness

Care Learning

4 mins READ

This guide will help you answer the NCFE CACHE Level 2 Award in Awareness of Dementia Unit 3.4 Identify prevalence rates for different types of dementia.

Understanding the prevalence rates of different types of dementia is vital for health and social care workers. This knowledge helps in planning care, allocating resources, and raising awareness. Below is a detailed exploration of prevalence rates for various types of dementia in the UK.

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders. These disorders affect memory, thinking, behaviour, and the ability to perform everyday tasks. There are several types of dementia, each with unique characteristics and prevalence rates.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Approximately 60-70% of all dementia cases are due to Alzheimer’s.

In the UK, about 520,000 people live with Alzheimer’s disease. This number represents nearly two-thirds of the total dementia population.

Alzheimer’s is characterised by memory loss, confusion, mood changes, and difficulty with daily activities. It’s a progressive disease, meaning symptoms worsen over time.

Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia. It accounts for about 20% of the cases.

Around 150,000 people in the UK have vascular dementia. This type is often linked to reduced blood flow to the brain.

Symptoms can include problems with planning, organising, or making decisions. People may also experience slower thinking and issues with concentrating.

Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB)

Dementia with Lewy bodies accounts for 10-15% of all dementia cases.

Approximately 100,000 people in the UK are affected by DLB.

DLB is associated with symptoms such as visual hallucinations, fluctuating mental states, and physical symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease.

Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)

Frontotemporal dementia is less common, affecting around 2-5% of people with dementia.

About 16,000 people in the UK have FTD. It often affects younger individuals, typically between the ages of 45 and 65.

Symptoms include changes in personality and behaviour, as well as language difficulties. Memory isn’t always affected in the early stages.

Mixed Dementia

Mixed dementia refers to a condition where someone has more than one type of dementia. This is also quite common, with prevalence estimates ranging from 10-30%.

Exact numbers are hard to establish. It’s thought that many people diagnosed with one type of dementia actually have mixed dementia.

Symptoms vary based on the types of dementia involved. For example, someone may exhibit symptoms of both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

Other Types of Dementia

These include rarer types like Huntington’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), and Parkinson’s disease dementia.

These types collectively account for a small percentage of dementia cases.

Each type has unique symptoms based on the underlying condition. For example, in Parkinson’s disease dementia, motor symptoms are prominent.

Age and Gender Factors

Impact of Age:
The risk of developing dementia increases with age. About one in 14 people over the age of 65 has dementia. This rises to one in six for those over 80.

Impact of Gender:
Women are more likely than men to develop dementia. About two-thirds of people with dementia in the UK are women. This could be due to women living longer on average and possibly other biological or social factors.

Regional Differences

Variation Across the UK:
Prevalence rates can vary by region. For example, rural areas may have different prevalence rates compared to urban areas due to factors like availability of healthcare services and population demographics.

Deprivation and Socio-Economic Status:
Studies suggest that people in more deprived areas may have higher prevalence rates. This could be due to lifestyle factors, health inequalities, and access to healthcare.

Global Comparisons

International Context:
The UK has similar prevalence rates to other developed countries. However, prevalence can differ widely in developing countries because of factors like under-diagnosis and differences in life expectancy.

Cultural Factors:
Cultural perceptions of ageing and dementia can affect prevalence rates. In some cultures, dementia symptoms may go unrecognised or be attributed to normal ageing.

Example answers for unit 3.4 Identify prevalence rates for different types of dementia

Here are example answers written from the perspective of a care worker completing Unit “3.4 Identify prevalence rates for different types of dementia.”

Example Answer 1

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common type of dementia, making up 60-70% of cases. In the UK, about 520,000 people have Alzheimer’s. This form of dementia mainly impacts memory, thinking skills, and behaviour. As a care worker, I see many residents with Alzheimer’s, and it’s important to understand its prevalence to provide better care.

Example Answer 2

Vascular Dementia accounts for roughly 20% of all dementia cases. There are around 150,000 individuals affected by this type in the UK. Vascular dementia occurs when there’s a lack of blood flow to the brain, leading to problems with planning, decision-making, and concentration. Knowing the prevalence helps me to tailor care plans for those affected.

Example Answer 3

Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) affects about 10-15% of people with dementia. In the UK, around 100,000 people have DLB. This type includes symptoms such as visual hallucinations and motor issues similar to Parkinson’s. At work, recognising these symptoms and their prevalence aids in creating proper support strategies for residents.

Example Answer 4

Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) is less common, making up 2-5% of dementia cases. Approximately 16,000 people in the UK are living with FTD, which often affects individuals aged 45-65. It impacts personality and language more than memory early on. Understanding FTD’s prevalence helps us identify and manage these cases effectively in younger residents.

Example Answer 5

Mixed Dementia refers to having more than one type of dementia, estimated to affect 10-30% of people with dementia. It’s challenging to get exact numbers, but many diagnosed with a single type of dementia may actually have mixed dementia. Recognising mixed dementia’s prevalence ensures a comprehensive approach to care, addressing multiple symptoms simultaneously.

Example Answer 6

Other types of dementia, such as those related to Huntington’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and Parkinson’s disease, account for a small percentage of cases. Though less common, knowing these types exist and their prevalence helps in attending to specialised needs. This knowledge prepares me to look out for unique symptoms and provide targeted care.

These examples illustrate how a care worker might approach describing the prevalence rates for different types of dementia, emphasising their practical implications in caregiving.


Understanding the prevalence rates for different types of dementia helps health and social care workers plan appropriate care and support. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common, followed by vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and frontotemporal dementia. Mixed dementia is also widespread, although often under-recognised. Awareness of these prevalence rates is crucial in providing effective and compassionate care to individuals living with dementia.

By grasping these statistics and characteristics, you can better serve those affected by dementia and contribute to improved outcomes in dementia care. Remember, knowledge is a powerful tool in your care practice, empowering you to make informed decisions and advocate for those you support.

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