Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer's - Ambassadors Caregivers

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What is the Difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s?

Usually considered as similar memory disorders, Dementia and Alzheimer’s can be very different in terms of their definition, symptoms, causes and memory care treatments required. Alzheimer’s is a popular type of Dementia that hampers memory, thought and language; it is further affected by the passing time. Whereas, Dementia is a broader term for a memory syndrome that adversely affects patient’s ability to communicate and perform daily activities. The risk and degree of both these diseases increase with aging. Today, let’s discover how both these diseases are similar and different from each other!

Symptoms Of Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Besides overlapping symptoms like impairment in memory, communication and thinking, Alzheimer’s and Dementia also have some different symptoms.

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Dementia

Although the early signs of Dementia are common episodes of forgetfulness, like losing track of time or losing your way to regular destinations, its major symptoms are:

  • Growing confusion and forgetfulness
  • Inability to recall faces and names
  • Facing problems in following personal care routine
  • Repetitious questioning
  • Poor decision making
  • Inadequate hygiene

As the early symptoms of Dementia are mild, they can be easily overlooked. Thus, there is a need to be extra cautious while living around elderly, so that such health conditions can be tracked down and treated in time.

Alzheimer’s

The major symptoms of Alzheimer’s are:

  • Inability to remember latest conversations and events
  • Failure in making rational judgments
  • Depression and apathy
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Critical behavioral changes

As the disease progresses in its advanced stage, patients can face difficulty in everyday tasks like speaking, walking and even swallowing.

Causes Of Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Usually caused by the damage of certain brain cells, Dementia is a disease that is more likely to develop with aging. The most popular conditions responsible for Dementia are Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s; each of these conditions harms a different set of brain cells. People with Alzheimer’s account for almost 50 to 70 percent of overall cases of Dementia. Other health conditions that cause Dementia can be severe infections like HIV, strokes, depression, vascular diseases and chronic drug use. As Alzheimer’s is a type of Dementia, the causes are more or less same for both the disorders.

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Treatment

For both Dementia and Alzheimer’s, memory care treatments differ in a broader perspective but still, some treatments can overlap for both the conditions.

Dementia

To treat Dementia effectively, the exact type and cause of Dementia needs to be analysed first. Although Dementia is not reversible, the patients’ condition can be controlled with right medication and care. Doctors’ first preference to treat it is by treating the condition which is causing the disease. Dementia that occurs due to tumors, drugs, hypoglycemia and metabolic disorders, is most likely to respond to the treatment.

Alzheimer’s

Till date, there is no certain cure for Alzheimer’s but the following options are helpful in controlling its symptoms to some extent:

  • Medication for memory loss, depression and behavioral & sleep changes
  • Alternative medicine to improve overall health and brain functions

Thus, we can say that Alzheimer’s and Dementia are both irreversible memory disorders, the risk of developing which becomes higher with growing age. Although they are different from each other in so many ways, it requires expert attention to tell the two apart. Experienced doctors suggest being careful and vigilant towards the symptoms so that the condition of the affected seniors can be improved with the right memory care treatment. So, if an elder in your family or neighborhood is showing signs of forgetfulness, do not forget to raise an alarm!

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