Thursday, July 7

Alzheimer’s vs dementia: is there a key difference between them?


The words “dementia” and “Alzheimer’s” strike fear in many people’s hearts. Someone in the world develops dementia. every 3 seconds. While it mostly happens to people over the age of 65, it affects younger people as well, making it a scary prospect.

Many people use the terms Alzheimer’s and dementia interchangeably, but are they really the same? It is important to identify the differences if this condition runs in your family so that you can see signs in yourself and others.

Read on to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

What is dementia?

Many people think that dementia is inevitable after a certain age. It is actually a specific syndrome that affects many areas of the brain and causes cognitive decline.

Dementia is the seventh leading cause of death. While many people think that it only affects memory, it can also cause mobility problems, mood swings, and even personality changes.

People with dementia will need 24-hour care as the condition progresses. They tend to ramble and can end up hurting themselves in the process. Many families who are unable to stay with their relatives with dementia full time end up placing them in memory care facilities for your own safety.

Dementia can be controlled with enrichment exercises, but there is no cure and decline is inevitable.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is different from dementia on some level, but it is actually one of the diseases that can lead to dementia (which means they share many symptoms). In other words, Alzheimer’s disease is one of the conditions that is included in the group of “dementia.”

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Alzheimer’s is a deadly disease with no obvious cure. People with Alzheimer’s who are over 80 years old tend to die about three years after diagnosis.

When someone develops Alzheimer’s disease, it can reach a point where they can no longer identify family members and other loved ones. This is distressing for both the person with Alzheimer’s and their loved ones.

Signs of dementia vs. Alzheimer’s

The signs and symptoms of dementia often align with those experienced by people with Alzheimer’s, although some forms of dementia have different symptoms. For example, when it comes to people with Lewy body dementia versus Alzheimer’s, patients with that form of dementia may experience sleep disturbances and hallucinations as early symptoms.

The symptoms that coincide (regardless of the type of dementia) are:

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Trouble communicating
  • Memory impairment

Symptoms that are related to Alzheimer’s disease (or people who have dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease) are:

  • Emotional decline (such as depression or anxiety)
  • Confusion
  • Dificulty to walk
  • Lack of criteria
  • Poor short-term memory

If any of these symptoms become apparent, even in younger people, it is important to speak with a medical professional. While there is no cure for these conditions, people can take steps to stop them. There is no real test for dementia versus Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s vs dementia: both debilitating conditions

There are only a few obvious differences between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Because dementia can include Alzheimer’s disease, the conditions often look the same to people without them.

If you or a loved one are experiencing signs of cognitive decline, visit a doctor as soon as possible for an evaluation.

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