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The Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

What Is Dementia?

Dementia is defined as a range of brain problems that make it difficult to recall things, think clearly, make decisions, or even manage emotions. Alzheimer is one example, but dementia comes in various forms and causes. Dementia is more than just a lapse in memory, such as forgetting someone’s name or where you parked. At least two of the following are difficult for a person with dementia:

  • Memory
  • Speech and communication
  • Concentration and focus
  • Reasoning and decision-making
  • Visual perception (inability to distinguish between colours or detect movement, as well as seeing things that aren’t there)

 

It might be difficult for a doctor to determine which type of dementia you or a loved one has because different types of dementia have similar symptoms. To make sure that doctors can correctly diagnose, tell them about all symptoms, medication and alcohol usage, and past illnesses.

Symptoms of Dementia

Early dementia symptoms, which can be modest, are easy to overlook. It usually starts with minor memory lapses. Dementia patients have problems keeping track of time and are prone to get lost in familiar environments.

As dementia progresses, forgetfulness and confusion become more common. It gets more challenging to remember names and faces. Repetitive questioning, poor hygiene, and poor decision-making are all apparent indications of dementia.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)

The most typical type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease affects 60 to 80 per cent of patients with dementia. It’s a degenerative disease that worsens over time, and it mainly affects adults over the age of 65. There is currently no treatment available.

It occurs when proteins (called plaques) and fibres (called tangles) accumulate in your brain, obstructing nerve signals and causing nerve cell death. The symptoms of memory loss may be moderate at first, but they get more severe over time. The following are some of the most common Alzheimer’s symptoms:

  • Names, events, and conversations are difficult to recall.
  • Concentration problem.
  • Change in personality, such as a lack of concern for things you used to care about, suspicion of people, or violence.
  • Impaired decision-making or judgement.
  • Confusion.

 

Carrying on a conversation or performing daily duties becomes more difficult. A doctor cannot say with certainty that you have Alzheimer’s disease, but there are things they may do to be reasonably confident. These involve tests of your attention, memory, language, and vision, as well as brain images. These images are collected with an MRI, which creates detailed images using powerful magnets and radio waves.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Years before symptoms occur, brain damage begins. In the brain of someone with Alzheimer’s disease, abnormal protein deposits develop plaques and tangles. Cells lose their connections and start to die as a result. The brain shrinks significantly in advanced cases. While a person is living, it is challenging to identify Alzheimer’s disease with 100% precision. 

Treating Alzheimer’s Disease vs. Other Types of Dementia

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or most other types of dementia. Treatments are focused on treating symptoms and preventing the condition from worsening. Some dementia and Alzheimer’s treatments are similar.

  • Cholinesterase inhibitors can help with memory loss in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease patients.
  • In both dementia and Alzheimer’s, glutamate inhibitors aid learning and memory.
  • Changes in sleep patterns may be treated with the use of sleep medicines.
  • Antidepressants can help with the symptoms of depression.
  • Antipsychotic drugs may helpful in behavioural change.

 

Depending on the cause of dementia, certain types respond to treatment. Your doctor may advise you to:

  • Putting an end to drug and alcohol abuse
  • The removal of a tumour
  • Taking care of a B12 deficiency
  • Hydrocephalus treatment (extra fluid on the brain)
  • Getting your blood sugar in check
  • Medication for thyroid problems

 

Alzheimer’s vs. Dementia Symptoms

Although the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are similar, there are major variances. Both disorders have the potential to cause:

  • Deterioration in one’s ability to think
  • Memory loss is a problem.
  • difficulty in communication

 

Alzheimer’s disease symptoms include:

  • Recent experiences or conversations are difficult to recall.
  • Apathy, sadness, and poor judgement are all symptoms of apathy.
  • Confusion.
  • In the later stages of the disease, you may have trouble speaking, swallowing, or walking.

 

Conclusion

There is a distinction between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Dementia is a general term describing symptoms that affect a person’s memory, communication abilities, and overall effectiveness. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common kind of dementia, is a type of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease progresses over time, affecting the individual’s language, memory, and mental process; therefore, early detection is critical for effective treatment. While younger people are more likely to get dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, as you get older, your chances of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease increase. It is important to remember, however, that neither dementia nor Alzheimer’s disease is a normal aspect of ageing.

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