Is it dementia or Alzheimer’s?
Dementia describes various medical conditions, so it is more like an umbrella term. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the conditions classified as dementia. The term dementia generally refers to disorders that cause abnormal brain changes. The changes result in a decrease in cognitive abilities, negatively impacting daily life. Other effects of dementia include changes in emotions, behaviour, and relationships. A few of the early symptoms of dementia are:
• Having trouble recalling recent events
• Being unable to carry out daily tasks.
• Changes in behaviour or personality
• Depression Confusion
• Concentration issues
If you or someone you know has memory issues, consult your doctor as soon as possible. It may be possible to treat certain conditions after an examination. And in the case of dementia, an early diagnosis may allow the patient to take advantage of treatment options to the fullest extent possible. Memory loss, impaired reasoning skills, and cognitive problems are characteristics of Alzheimer’s, a progressive brain disease. The main symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia include memory loss and difficulties with daily activities. Be sure to see a doctor if you notice any of these ten signs and symptoms:
• Memory loss
• Issues with planning or resolving problems
• Having trouble completing familiar tasks
• Having trouble determining the time or the place
• Having difficulty comprehending visual images and spatial relationships
• Word problems in speech or writing
• Being unable to retrace steps after placing things and losing things
• Judgment problems
• Refusal to engage in work or social activities
• Mental and emotional changes
The difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia can be tricky, but it’s not too hard to understand. In a nutshell, dementia is not one specific disease; it’s a combination of symptoms with many different causes, including Alzheimer’s disease. When facing dementia, your doctor needs to diagnose the underlying cause, and while Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of change, it’s not the only one. Dementia can also be caused by vascular changes in the brain, Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body disease, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid gland problems, chronic brain infections, or medications. Even an intense depression can sometimes be like dementia which means if someone has dementia, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are different. Alzheimer’s is a subgroup of the other. They’re mistakenly considered the same because the most common dementia diagnosis among elders is Alzheimer’s disease. It’s caused by changes in the brain such as abnormal buildups of proteins, named amyloid plaques and tau tangles, or abnormal shrinkage of the brain and slowly affects memory and cognitive function. Dementia isn’t a specific disease! It’s a term describing a group of symptoms in which memory, thinking, reasoning, and social abilities are severely affected, such as amnesia, changes in personality or behaviour, loss of memory or language, etc. So, the patient has problems handling daily life. Alzheimer’s disease is among one of the most common forms of dementia.
Although the meaning of these two terms sometimes overlaps and confuses us, there’s a significant difference between them.
Dementia refers to a gradual decline in mental ability to interfere with daily activities. It’s not a part of ageing; damage to the brain cells causes dementia.
While, Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease causing dementia. If Alzheimer’s advances, it can result in severe confusion and behavioural changes. The individuals may find it hard to speak, walk, and remember the details.