The Key Differences Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
Oftentimes, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are used interchangeably. But there are differences between the two, and it’s important to make these distinctions. Both of these can affect one’s ability to think clearly and make decisions. It generally has to do with the nervous system and changes in the brain that ultimately interfere with cognitive abilities. On this page, you’ll learn all about dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and the stages and types of each condition. Find out what differentiates the two terms below.
What is dementia?
The key to understanding dementia vs Alzheimers is first understanding that dementia is a group of symptoms. It is not a disease in itself and is actually caused by specific health conditions. It affects a person’s ability to think clearly, use logical reasoning, and even control their emotions. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. And it’s best to keep in mind that dementia is not just a regular part of the aging process. There are also different types of dementia, ranging from mild stages to severe stages where the individual will need the help of another person for even the most basic activities. The symptoms of dementia can include memory loss, poor judgment, confusion, difficulty speaking, trouble with responsibilities, and acting impulsively.
What is Alzheimers’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that causes memory problems. Keep in mind that an individual can have Alzheimer’s disease without experiencing dementia symptoms. It’s a condition that progresses over time due to cell damage in the brain. Someone with Alzheimer’s will find themselves experiencing disorientation, confusion, and other behavior changes as the disease progresses. At a certain point, walking and swallowing become increasingly difficult. Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 are living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and early detection is important to learn more about the underlying cause.
Are there different types of dementia?
Yes, dementia is typically referred to as a set of symptoms, and it is caused by several different conditions. This can include Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Lewy Body Dementia, Frontotemporal Dementia, Huntington’s Disease, or Korsakoff Syndrome. There are many other types as well and it can also involve Down syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, or hydrocephalus. Today’s top researchers are currently learning more about dementia in the quest to find a cure for a number of different health conditions.
What are the stages of Alzheimer’s disease?
There are typically three stages associated with Alzheimer’s: early, middle, and late. They can also be referred to as mild, moderate, and severe. Early-stage Alzheimer’s usually involves mild symptoms like difficulty remembering names or misplacing valuable objects. But the individual is still fully capable of functioning and living independently. In fact, they may still be able to drive and work, as well as take part in social activities. Middle-stage Alzheimer’s is the longest stage of the condition and can span many years. The individual might feel moody and withdrawn. They’ll have trouble controlling their bowel movements and their bladder as well as experience changes in sleep patterns.
As the disease progresses, the individual could potentially begin to wander and become lost. They’ll experience behavioral changes like suspiciousness and delusions. They might even take part in compulsive, repetitive behavior. At this point, it is important that the individual has an increased level of care. Late-stage Alzheimer’s typically involves the inability to control movement. It will be difficult for the individual to speak or walk. They will have trouble saying words and phrases. They’ll also have difficulty swallowing and lose awareness. They’ll need extensive care.
Hopefully, this guide has provided you with more insight into what makes dementia different from Alzheimer’s disease and how each one can affect an individual.