People have a misconception in mind that Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are the same, for a fact they are not. Dementia the term overall impacts memory, communication abilities and performance of daily activities, whereas Alzheimer’s disease, is a common type of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease worsens with time, effects thoughts, language, and memory. Such disease can get under control with the help of health screening tests.
Younger people getting affected by these diseases can risk more with age, none of them are considered normal as aging.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease needs to be distinguished well for proper management and treatment. Both the symptoms of the diseases may overlap making it difficult to distinguish.
Dementia is not a disease but a syndrome. A syndrome does not have a definite diagnosis. Dementia affects mental cognitive tasks such as reasoning or memory, Dementia is the core term Alzheimer’s disease falls under which. Dementia can occur due to various conditions, common of which is Alzheimer’s disease.
One can have various types of Dementia at once, termed as mixed dementia. Mixed conditions may contribute to mixed dementia. An autopsy is the only test that can confirm mixed dementia. Dementia with progress can affect the ability to function independently massively. The major cause of disability in older adults is Dementia which places an emotional and financial burden on families and caregivers.
Symptoms to recognize dementia
To overlook the symptoms of Dementia is easy, the symptoms are mild. It begins with simple forgetfulness. People suffering from Dementia face difficulty tracking time and lose their way in familiar settings.
The further progression grows confusion as well. To recall faces and names becomes difficult, personal care becomes difficult. The most common signs of dementia include inadequate hygiene, repetitive questioning and poor-decision making.
The most advanced stage makes it difficult for people to take care of themselves, the problem of keeping time track becomes more difficult, remembering faces and people become more difficult, behaviors may change further to aggression and depression.
How is Dementia caused?
Dementia is likely to be caused at any age, it occurs when the cells in the brain get damaged. Dementia can be caused due to several conditions including many degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s, each of which causes damage to the different parts of the brain cells.
Alzheimer’s disease is the one responsible for 50 to 70 percent of all cases of dementia.
The other causes of dementia include:
● Chronic drug use
● Infections such as HIV
● Vascular diseases
Dementia is a progressive disease, while dementia is the term applied for a group of symptoms negatively impacting memory. Alzheimer’s disease causes slow impairment in cognitive function and memory. The exact cure of which is unavailable as the cause is unknown.
The National Institute of Health shows that on an estimate more than 5 million people in the United States of America have Alzheimer’s disease. The younger people can go and do Alzheimer’s; however, the symptoms generally begin after the age of 60.
The time of diagnosis of the disease can be at least three years in people over 80 years old. For younger people, it can be much longer.
Alzheimer’s affect the brain adversely
The damage begins years earlier than the symptoms appear. Abnormal protein deposits form tangles and plaques in the brain of the one affected. The cells lose connection and eventually die. The brain shows shrinkage in advanced cases.
It is impossible to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease as it cannot easily be recognized. The diagnosis can only be examined when the brain is examined under autopsy. Up to 90 percent of time experts are successful in diagnosing Alzheimer’s.
Difference between Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia
However, the two diseases may overlap in symptoms however some differences can make diagnosis easier.
● Both the brain condition causes
● Decline in the ability of a person to think.
● Impairment in memory.
● Impairment in communication
● The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are
● Difficulty in remembering recent conversations and events
● Difficulty in speaking, walking, swallowing food, etc in the worse conditions.
● Impairment in judgment
● Behavioral changes.
Some conditions of Dementia share the same symptoms and also include and exclude other symptoms that help in the differential diagnosis. Lewy body dementia (LBD) for instance has some later symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. People suffering from LBD experience some initial symptoms like difficulty in balancing sleep disturbances and visual hallucinations.
People are more likely to experience involuntary movement in the early stage of Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease.
Treatment of Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
The treatment of dementia depends exactly on the cause and the type of dementia. Many treatments of Dementia and Alzheimer’s may overlap.
In some cases, the causes of dementia may help in the treatment. Conditions most likely to include dementia are
● Metabolic disorder
Dementia is reversible in most cases; many forms are however curable. The treatment depends upon the cause.
For instance, doctors treat dementia caused by LBD and Parkinson’s disease with cholinesterase inhibitors often used for the treatment of Alzheimer’s.
People with dementia also benefit from supportive services from health screening clinics in the UK and the other clinics, assisted living facilities or nursing homes become mandatory with the progress in disease.
● There is no cure available for Alzheimer’s however the options to manage symptoms are
● Medications for sleep changes and depression
● Medication for memory loss including cholinesterase inhibitors donepezil (Aricept) and rivastigmine (Exelon) and memantine (Namenda)
● Medications for behavioral changes namely antipsychotics
● Alternative remedies aiming to boost brain functions or the overall health such are fish oil or coconut oil.
An outlook for people with Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
The outlook of dementia depends on the cause of dementia, treatments are available to make symptoms due to Parkinson’s manageable However there isn’t a way to stop or even slow related dementia. Vascular dementia can, however, be slowed but it still shortens the lifespan of a person.
Some types are reversible but mostly all are irreversible which will cause impairment overtime.
Alzheimer’s is a terminal illness of which no cure is available. The length of time varies for each of the three stages. The person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is four to eight years after diagnosis some people, however, live up to 20 years.
Have a word with the doctor if you are concerned that you have the symptoms of both the disease. Starting symptoms can help you manage the symptoms promptly.