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Home »  Living Healthy »  Alzheimer's Vs Dementia: What Is The Difference?

Alzheimer's Vs Dementia: What Is The Difference?

Alzheimer and dementia. We all have heard these two terms, with many of us making it synonymous. But how are they different from each other? Let's have a look.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. We often get to hear dementia and alzheimer when it comes to memory loss
  2. Many people use these two terms as synonyms
  3. The two are quite different from each, read here to know how

Alzheimer's and dementia. These two terms are often considered to be synonymous to each other. But are they? The distinction between these two diseases can be confusing for families, patients and caregivers. In this article, we discuss the difference between Alzheimer's and dementia. Dementia is a brain disorder, which affects performance and communication of a person on day-to-day basis. Alzheimer's disease, on the other hand, is a form of dementia that specifically affects parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language.

Dementia is not a disease but a syndrome. It's not just about simple memory mishaps (like forgetting someone's name or where you parked). A dementia patient has a hard time with at least two of the following:

1. Communication and speech


2. Memory

3. Reasoning and judgment

4. Focus and concentration

5. Visual perception

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Dementia is a syndrome, whereas Alzheimer is a type of dementia
Photo Credit: iStock

Alzheimer is the most common type of dementia. Around 60% to 80% of people who have dementia have Alzheimer's. It's a progressive condition, that may worsen over time. This happens when fibres (called tangles) and proteins (called plaques) build up in your brain and block nerve signals and ultimately destroy nerve cells. Memory loss may seem mild at first, but the symptoms become worse over time. Symptoms include:

1. Memory loss

2. Difficulty planning and solving problems

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks

4. Difficulty determining time or place

5. Vision loss

6. Difficulty finding the right words

7. Misplacing items often

8. Difficulty making decisions

9. Withdrawing from work and social events

10. Experiencing personality and mood changes

Change in moods are noticeable and may include:

1. Confusion

2. Depression

3. Anxiety

4. Fearfulness

Alzheimer's is not a reversible disease. It is degenerative and incurable. Some forms of dementia, such as a vitamin deficiency or a drug interaction, are actually reversible or temporary. Other forms of dementia include:

1. Vascular dementia

2. Dementia from Parkinson's disease and similar disorders

3. Dementia with Lewy bodies

4. Frontotemporal dementia (Pick's disease)

5. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

A doctor can't say you have Alzheimer's with absolute certainty, but there are things he can do to be fairly sure. These include tests of your attention, memory, language, and vision, and looking at images of the brain. These images are taken with an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). When it comes to the treatment of Alzheimer's, medicines cannot cure the disease, but they can help in managing symptoms, like:

1. Behavioural changes

2. Memory loss

3. Boost brain function or overall health

4. Sleep changes.

5. Depression

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