If you are a caregiver, it is important to know the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s. It can be difficult to spot the differences at first but there are some key differences that will help you understand how these diseases affect your loved one. Alzheimer’s is more progressive than dementia with gradual memory loss, language difficulties and problems with reasoning and judgement. Dementia also causes memory loss but in addition they may experience mood disorders such as depression or anxiety, behavioral changes like agitation or aggression and hallucinations. Knowing what each disease does will allow you to provide better care for your loved one!
What is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s?
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “dementia is a broad term encompassing many different striking changes in all aspects of a person’s being, while Alzheimer’s disease is one specific cause of dementia. Dementia can refer to a decline in cognitive function specifically due to general health problems or diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.” And Alzheimer’s? “Alzheimer’s disease progresses gradually and always leads to death,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
One of the most common questions people ask when they are told that a relative has been diagnosed with dementia is “What exactly does this mean?” Dementia is actually a group of symptoms that are caused by damage to nerve cells in the brain.
Dementia literally means “without mind” which makes sense because when someone has dementia they are not able to think clearly.
How Does Memory Work?
Each time we remember an event or experience from our past, we actually create a new memory which will eventually replace the old one–the one we’re replacing it with becomes less accessible and more difficult for us (or anyone) to recall.
Which is worse to have dementia or Alzheimer’s
Dementia is worse because it’s a condition with no cure, there is only medication to make it more manageable. Alzheimer’s can be treated but not curable.
Many people are in the dark when it comes to understanding the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia which isn’t too surprising considering that these two conditions are often used interchangeably. Both of these diseases affect one’s ability to think, remember things, communicate verbally or in writing, have patience for others’ needs, care about anything other than themselves, carry out routine tasks at home or at work- all of which gradually worsen over time. Yet while Alzheimer’s most likely starts before 60years old and worsens fairly quickly inducing behavioural changes in most people by age 65 years; dementia can affect people in their 30s or 40s, but its symptoms are less dramatic.
Dementia is a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. It should only be used when the cause cannot be identified after testing for Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders have been ruled out by your doctor.
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills.
How can you tell if someone has dementia or Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s changes the brain cells and makes it hard for them to communicate with one another. Dementia, on the other hand, takes over various parts of the brain and can affect memory, movement, perception – sometimes all at once or one set of symptoms then another.
One cause is that patients with dementia do not sleep as well as those without it. And we know that a lack of sleep can lead to memory and cognitive problems, trouble concentrating and mood swings – just like in people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
What are the stages of dementia?
The following are the stages of dementia as defined by the World Health Organization:
If a person is in Stage 1, they have minor deficits in memory that would not interfere with day-to-day life.
In Stage 2, there may be mild cognitive problems that can cause someone to struggle with problems at work or school, but it would not make it impossible for them to function independently.
In Stage 3, an individual has moderate symptoms and may need help to maintain their independence.
In Stage 4, severe symptoms make it difficult to function without outside assistance – including dressing themselves properly and doing basic chores – but still could remember events from their lives.
In Stages 5 or 6 Alzheimer’s disease is confirmed through medical examination or brain imaging techniques such as MRI.
In Stage five, the person is unable to carry out simple tasks such as dressing and feeding themselves – but could still manage some activities on their own if provided with a little assistance or reminders about what they need to do.
At stage six, an individual will rely completely on others for all of their daily needs. They have lost most of their memory and are not aware of their surroundings. If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s, consider this article on how to find the right assisted living facility for your family member.
The stages of dementia all involve some degree of memory loss or cognitive decline that eventually makes it difficult for someone to care for themselves in everyday life situations.
Can dementia turn to Alzheimer’s?
This is a very common question. There are some types of dementia that can turn into Alzheimer’s, but it is important to understand the distinction between the two. Dementia, by definition, is a decline in mental ability and cognitive function. It will typically show up as memory loss or confusion unrelated to a specific area of injury or illness. Alzeimer’s Disease does not always start with dementia symptoms coming first. To be diagnosed with Alzheimers there must be evidence for deterioration in cognition due to brain damage from neuritic plaques and neuro fribirgnerative tangles.)
Conclusion: What are the key differences between dementia and Alzheimer’s? Dementia is caused by a number of conditions that affect your brain, while Alzheimer’s disease specifically targets the areas in our brains responsible for memory. If you’re not sure which condition your loved one has, contact our doctors today for help. They can provide an accurate diagnosis to get you on the right track with treatment.