Sep 20, 2021

What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia?

When an elderly person shows signs of becoming forgetful, their friends and family may jump to the conclusion they have some form of dementia. It can be a worrying time for all involved.

But becoming forgetful does not necessarily mean a person has dementia. It may be nothing, or it could be a sign of infection, other medical conditions or simply that you are doing too much or have significant stress in your life.

It’s important to understand the difference between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, in order to understand a diagnosis and receive the correct treatment.

Dementia is the umbrella term used to describe a number of symptoms that are associated with memory loss and cognitive decline, while Alzheimer’s is a disease that actually causes dementia.

The failure of some people to distinguish between the two conditions can cause confusion.

What is dementia?

Dementia refers to a range of symptoms that are the result of a deterioration of brain function.

The symptoms associated with dementia include:

  • loss of memory,
  • problems with thinking, learning, memory and language,
  • behavioural and emotional problems, and
  • difficulties performing daily activities.

The most common forms of dementia are:

  • vascular dementia,
  • dementia with Lewy bodies,
  • dementia from Parkinson’s disease,
  • frontotemporal dementia,
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and
  • Alzheimer’s disease.

Some people may have two or more types of dementia, which is called mixed dementia.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common condition that causes dementia.

For a person with Alzheimer’s disease, abnormal structures, called ‘plaques’ and ‘tangles’, build up in the brain, disrupting nerve cells and affecting the way they communicate with each other. Eventually the nerve cells die.

Alzheimer’s usually begins with mild memory loss. Other symptoms may include:

  • having trouble recalling events,
  • difficulty learning new things
  • trouble finding the right word,
  • trouble solving problems,
  • trouble making decisions,
  • difficulty perceiving three-dimensional objects, or
  • being irritable.

As the disease progresses, the symptoms become more severe, and new symptoms may appear. Eventually, people with Alzheimer’s disease may need around-the-clock support.

Is there a cure?

While both dementia and Alzheimer’s are associated with the cognitive decline that often accompanies ageing, they are not considered a normal part of ageing.

Other forms of dementia and Alzheimer’s get worse over time, and unfortunately there is no cure. Medications are sometimes used in the treatment of dementia, but they can only slow the condition’s progress or treat symptoms; they will not cure dementia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Banner Banner
Banner Banner

Blood Pressure: How High is Too High for Seniors?

When you go to the doctors, whether it be for a routine check up or for an ailment, it’s common to have your blood pressure checked – but do you know exactly what the numbers mean? Blood pressure is a measure of the amount of force the blood exerts on the walls of the blood... Read More

Almost half of those who care for seniors with dementia suffer distress: new research

A new research report reveals that caring for an elderly person with dementia takes a greater toll on carers than other types of senior care. The report says those caring for elderly people living with dementia suffer higher rates of distress, and spend more hours caring than those who are caring for other seniors. The... Read More

What Are My Options For Respite Care?

What is Respite Care? Respite care or short-term care as it’s also known is available to individuals and their carers. This time of year often is a peak period for people seeking respite therefore it’s advisable to book into a nursing home in advance as you will often find respite beds will book out well... Read More
Banner Banner