People often have the misconception that dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are both the same form of medical condition. They actually have several differences that can help you distinguish one from the other. Here is what you need to know about understanding dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain illness which is also the most common form of dementia. Dementia is not just one specific disease. It describes the overall group of symptoms of memory-related conditions.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a general term that refers to the loss of memory, problem-solving, language, and other cognitive functions that are severe enough to impact daily living activities. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia describes the overall group of symptoms for various memory-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Disorders that are categorized under the general term, dementia are caused by abnormalities in the brain. These abnormal changes cause a decline in cognitive functions which are severe enough to hinder independent function. They may also affect emotions, behavior, and relationships.
Understanding Dementia in Seniors
There are many different types of dementia symptoms and they vary from person to person. Examples are as follows:
- Losing track of their belongings
- Short-term memory problems
- Difficulty in meal planning and preparation
- Difficulty in daily commute
- Difficulty in keeping up with appointments
Many of these symptoms are progressive which shows that dementia starts out as a mild illness before gradually getting worse. The symptoms of dementia can be identified when an individual is seen experiencing changes in their thinking skills or having difficulty remembering things. Undergoing a professional evaluation can help to detect a condition that can be treated.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. It accounts for up to 60 to 80% of dementia cases but it is not a normal part of aging. The greatest known factor of Alzheimer’s disease is increasing age and the majority of older adults suffering from this condition are aged 65 years old and beyond. Alzheimer’s disease is also considered to be younger as the onset of this disease can affect people under the age of 65. Younger-onset may also be referred to as early-onset. Those with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease can be in the early, middle, or late stage of the illness.
Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease in Seniors
This is a progressive disease that worsens over time. Dementia on the other hand, has symptoms that gradually get worse over a number of years. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, memory loss is mild but as it progresses, individuals will lose their ability to participate in conversations and will face difficulty to respond to their environment. There is no cure for it but there is one therapy that is known to remove amyloid which is the main component of the disease. Amyloid is removed from the brain to reduce functional and cognitive decline. There are also other treatments that can temporarily slow down the progression of dementia symptoms to improve the quality of life for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.