Alzheimer's and Dementia: What's the Difference?

It is understandable to be concerned over memory loss. When you witness a loved one unable to remember,it can bring about a whole range of emotions. It is important, therefore, to understand that Dementia and Alzheimer’s are related.

Dementia

Let’s talk about dementia first. Dementia is a form of brain dysfunction. You may call it senility. It is related to age. As we get older, the body seems to move in reverse.

Dementia is a progressive condition but it is similar to a bodily dysfunction rather than a disease. It can begin with forgetfulness. You don’t know where you placed your keys; you can’t remember washing the dishes; you don’t know who you told what.

Initially, you would go to your doctor who will ask about your medical history and daily functions. Certain medications or illnesses can play a role in dementia. Feeling fuzzy about facts or suffering lack of focus is not an uncommon side effect when beginning or coming off of certain medications.

As we age, the rate of dementia increases. This can be due to not only medication but also nutritional deficiencies, metabolic changes in the body, cancers, and natural changes in body systems. What is seen as lack of attention can be due to hearing loss. Lack of facial recognition could be due to vision loss.

Dementia is usually not fatal in and of itself. Death may be a result of dementia-related accident instead of the actual condition.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia. It is the most common form of dementia. The cause is a degenerative brain disease that worsens with time.

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s are similar to other types of dementia in the beginning. At this point, you may not be able to tell what is going on without medical intervention. Even at that rate, Alzheimer’s disease is typically seen in people aged 65 or older.

The disease has been linked to the production of a certain protein in the brain that causes nerve cell death. Synaptic connections in the brain that signify memories (short and long term) and learned behaviors, along with involuntary bodily functions, are impaired. The loss goes beyond memory. Sufferers will eventually forget how to do things like speak, drive, dress themselves, go to the bathroom on their own, remember to eat and the like.

Dementia can be brought on by age and medical conditions. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that results in the brain’s nerve cells dying slowly over time. It is the most common and worst form of dementia that we have discovered.

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