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Alzheimer Vs Dementia Vs Parkinson

Alzheimers Disease Vs Parkinson Disease

What’s the Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia?

The main difference between Alzheimers disease and Parkinsons disease is that a deficiency of acetylcholine is linked to Alzheimers disease and usually induces the symptoms of Alzheimers patients whereas Parkinsons disease is mainly caused by a drop in dopamine levels in the brain. Both the diseases are brain disabilities with neurological malfunctioning along with reversed psychological tendencies.

Alzheimers disease is a neurodegenerative condition that causes the central nervous system to shrink and the death of brain cells. Alzheimers disease is by far the most prevalent degenerative brain disease, which is defined as a progressive loss of cognitive, behavioral, and social abilities that impairs a persons capacity to operate alone

Mental issues are usually one of the earliest indicators of Alzheimers disease, however, the symptoms and severity vary among individuals. Other elements of thinking, such as identifying the suitable words, optics problems, and impaired logic or judgment, may also indicate Alzheimers disease in its early phases.

Parkinsons disease, on the other hand, is mobility as well as disability issue that impacts the neurological system. Clinical signs begin to unveil sporadically and may begin with a barely perceptible trembling in only one hand. Shaking is frequent, although they are often accompanied by stiffness or slowed mobility. The symptoms of Parkinsons disease intensify as the illness progresses.

Differences Between Pdd And Dlb

So, how are PDD and DLB different from each other? That depends on whom you ask. Some clinicians feel that these two conditions are simply different versions of the same disorder. In fact, some professionals use the terms interchangeably. Yet, according to currently agreed-upon diagnostic guidelines, there are some differences.

Lewy Body Dementia: A Common Yet Underdiagnosed Dementia

While its not a household word yet, Lewy body dementia is not a rare disease. It affects an estimated 1.4 million individuals and their families in the United States. Because LBD symptoms can closely resemble other more commonly known disorders like Alzheimers disease and Parkinsons, it is often underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed. In fact, many doctors or other medical professionals still are not familiar with LBD.

Read Also: How To Help Seniors With Dementia

Psychotic Symptoms And Others

In addition to the symptoms we already mentioned, other symptoms may appear in both diseases. For example, in Alzheimers disease, delirium appears occasionally, while it rarely ever does in Parkinsons. Its vital to remember that delirium is an organic disorder that mainly affects consciousness and attention.

Regarding psychotic symptoms, visual hallucinations can appear in both diseases, more or less in the same proportion. Delusions may also arise. They occur often in Alzheimers and occasionally in Parkinsons.

Frontotemporal Dementia With Parkinsonism

Dementia vs Alzheimers: What is the Difference?

One form of familial FTD, also known as frontotemporal dementia with Parkinsonism-17 , is caused by genetic changes in the gene for tau protein, located on chromosome 17. No other risk factors for this condition are known.

FTDP-17 is rare and accounts for only three per cent of all cases of dementia. Symptoms progressively get worse over time and usually appear between the ages of 40 and 60. The condition affects both thinking and behavioural skills and movements such as rigidity, lack of facial expression and problems with balance .

It can be distressing to be told that you have a genetic disorder or are at risk of having one. Genetic counselling provides the person and their family with information about a genetic disorder and its likely impact on their lives. This can assist a person with FTDP-17 to make informed medical and personal decisions about how to manage their condition and the challenges it presents to their health and wellbeing. Prenatal genetic counselling is also available for parents to help them decide about a pregnancy that may be at risk of FTDP-17.

Recommended Reading: What Are The Symptoms Of Vascular Dementia

Don’t Smoke Lessen Alcohol Intake & Do Not Take Drugs

Even if you don’t drink a lot, alcohol has a cumulative effect on your brain. One blackout after a drinking binge can induce life long memory loss. Over time, smaller amounts of alcohol will lead to blackouts and soon you’ll have a ton of lost time even though you barely drank one bottle of beer.

Smoking negatively affects memory by reducing the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain while repeated drug use kills your neurons and the rushes of dopamine reinforce drug dependence.

Are There Different Types Of Dementia

Dementias can be divided into three groups:

  • Primary .
  • Secondary .
  • Reversible dementia-like symptoms caused by other illnesses or causes.

Primary dementia

Types of primary dementia include:

Dementia due to other diseases and conditions

Other causes of dementia include:

Dementias due to reversible causes

Some conditions can cause dementia-like symptoms that can be reversed with treatment, including:

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Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease

  • Apathy
  • Feeling, seeing, smelling, hearing and tasting things that arent there
  • Hallucinations and delusions

Parkinsons disease is usually expressed through the following five stages:

  • Stage one Mild symptoms dont interfere with daily tasks, tremors occur on one side of the body, and posture, gait and facial expression changes may happen.
  • Stage two Symptoms worsen, tremors and stiffness affect the entire body and walking and standing are more difficult. At this stage, people may have some trouble performing daily activities.
  • Stage three Trouble moving quickly, and balance issues can make it hard to eat or get dresses. Patients may be more likely to fall.
  • Stage four Patients may need a walker to move around. Most people are unable to live alone at this stage because they need help with daily activities.
  • Stage five It may be impossible to stand or walk. A wheelchair may help with mobility. A caregiver should be present at all times during this stage.

What Causes Lewy Body Dementia

Alzheimer’s Disease vs Dementia

The causes of LBD are not yet well understood, but research is ongoing in this area. There are probably multiple factors involved, including genetic and environmental risk factors that combine with natural aging processes to make someone susceptible to LBD.

For more information, visit

Modified with permission from the Lewy Body Dementia Association

To learn more about motor symptoms related to Parkinsons, visit here.

To learn more about non-motor symptoms related to Parkinsons, visit here.

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Parkinson’s Dementia Vs Dementia With Lewy Bodies

Have you ever wondered if there was any difference between dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease dementia? If you’ve ever heard the symptoms of these two disorders, they sound surprisingly alike. That’s because they’re both types of Lewy body dementia: dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease dementia .

Alzheimers And Parkinsons Disease: Similarities And Differences

James M. Ellison, MD, MPH

Swank Center for Memory Care and Geriatric Consultation, ChristianaCare Configure

  • Expert Advice

Explore the similarities and differences between two common degenerative brain disorders.

Ron brings his 78-year-old wife, Sara, to the Memory Clinic, with a pressing concern. Sara is forgetting things more often even though her Parkinsons disease symptoms appear to be under good control with standard medications, healthy diet, and plenty of physical activity. She is losing her train of thought mid-sentence and she became very confused about where she was while driving the well-traveled route to her daughters home. Is she developing dementia? Is that a part of Parkinsons disease? Or is she developing Alzheimers disease? And what are the differences between Alzheimers and Parkinsons?

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Whats The Difference Between Lewy Body Dementia Parkinsons Disease And Alzheimers Disease

Lewy body dementia is an umbrella term for two related clinical diagnoses: dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinsons disease dementia. These disorders share the same underlying changes in the brain and very similar symptoms, but the symptoms appear in a different order depending on where the Lewy bodies first form.

Dementia with Lewy bodies is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory and thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with everyday activities. It specifically affects a persons ability to plan and solve problems, called executive function, and their ability to understand visual information. Dementia always appears first in DLB. The motor symptoms of Parkinsons such as tremor, slowness, stiffness and walking/balance/gait problems usually become more evident as the disease progresses. Visual hallucinations, REM sleep behavior disorder, fluctuating levels of alertness and attention, mood changes and autonomic dysfunction are also characteristic of DLB.

Finally, Alzheimers is characterized by different abnormal clumps called amyloid plaques, and jumbled fiber bundles called tau tangles. These microscopic structural changes in the brain were discovered by Dr. Alois Alzheimer in 1906. These plaques and tangles, together with loss of connections between nerve cells, contribute to loss of coherence and memory, as well as a progressive impairment in conducting normal activities of daily living.

Main Differences Between Alzheimers Disease And Parkinson Disease

  • Alzheimers disease is caused by a lack of acetylcholine whereas Parkinsons disease is caused by a lack of dopamine.
  • Alzheimers disease targets the patients logical reasoning as well as brain degradation abilities whereas Parkinsons disease causes mobility disabilities.
  • Alzheimers disease is sometimes completely cured by medical and surgical treatments whereas Parkinsons disease is non-curable.
  • Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are used to treat Alzheimers disease whereas Parkinsons disease is treated with a continuous dopamine precursor.
  • Alzheimers disease leads to dementia whereas Parkinsons disease leads to permanent paralysis.
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    Key Brain Changes Are Different

    The key brain changes linked to Parkinsons disease and Parkinsons-related dementia are abnormal deposits of common brain proteins, called alpha-synuclein. These deposits are known as Lewy bodies, named after the doctor who discovered them. As more of these proteins clump in the brain, normal brain cells begin to die off.1

    In Alzheimers disease, the key brain changes include the buildup of different brain proteins, called amyloid and tau. When amyloid proteins clump together, they form abnormal structures known as plaques. Abnormal groups of tau proteins form tangles.3 Over time, the buildup of these proteins causes normal brain cells to die, and affected parts of the brain may shrink.5

    Is There Treatment Available

    At present there is no cure for Lewy body disease. Symptoms such as depression and disturbing hallucinations can usually be reduced by medication. However, medications to relieve hallucinations may increase muscle tremors and stiffness. Conversely, anti-Parkinson drugs may make hallucinations worse.

    Emerging evidence suggests that cholinesterase inhibitor drugs may be quite helpful for some people with this condition.

    People with this form of dementia are very sensitive to the side effects of neuroleptic drugs such as antipsychotic medications. It is essential all medications are supervised by a specialist to avoid these severe side effects.

    Read Also: What Can You Do To Prevent Alzheimer’s

    Treating Alzheimers Disease Vs Other Types Of Dementia

    Neither Alzheimerâs nor most other types of dementia have a cure. Doctors focus treatments on managing symptoms and keeping the disease from getting worse.

    Some of the treatments for dementia and Alzheimerâs overlap.

    • Cholinesterase inhibitors can help with memory loss in certain types of dementia and Alzheimerâs.
    • Glutamate inhibitors help with learning and memory in both dementia and Alzheimerâs.
    • Sleep medications may help with sleep changes.
    • Antidepressants can help with depression symptoms.
    • Antipsychotic medications may help with behavior changes.

    Some types of dementia respond to treatment, depending on what is causing it. Your doctor may recommend:

    • Stopping the use of drugs and alcohol
    • Tumor removal

    Show Sources

    Alzheimerâs Association: âCreutzfeldt-Jakob Disease,â âFrontotemporal Dementia,â âTypes of Dementia,â âWhat is Alzheimerâs?â

    Alzheimerâs Disease International: âWorld Alzheimerâs Report 2015.â

    Alzheimerâs Society: âSight, perception and hallucinations in dementia.â

    BrightFocus Foundation: âWhatâs the Difference Between Dementia & Alzheimerâs Disease?â âTreatments for Alzheimerâs Disease.â

    Dementia Society of America: âDementia FAQs.â

    Fisher Center for Alzheimerâs Research Foundation: âDementia vs. Alzheimerâs.â

    Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio: âAlzheimerâs Versus Dementia.â

    Mayo Clinic: âAlzheimerâs Disease,â âDementia.â

    Cleveland Clinic: âDementia.â

    What’s The Life Expectancy Of A Person With Dementia

    What is dementia? Alzheimer’s Research UK

    Theres no easy way to answer this question. Dementia is an umbrella term that covers the many different types of underlying neurodegenerative diseases.

    Each type of neurodegenerative disease has its own unique pattern and development in each person. Also, each person has a unique health profile. Some people may be relatively healthy and others may have several co-existing health issues. All of these factors play a role in the pace of decline in a person with dementia.

    To answer more broadly, Alzheimers is the most common type of dementia. The average lifespan after the earliest symptoms is eight years. However, some people have lived as long as 20 years after an Alzheimers disease diagnosis.

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    Differences Between Alzheimers And Parkinsons

    Were going to group the differences between both illnesses into different blocks and explain what each of them consists of. All of them have been extracted from two reference psychopathology manuals: Belloch, Sandín, and Ramos and the DSM-5 .

    The first block of differences between Alzheimers and Parkinsons refers to their type of symptoms. Lets see what they are.

    Can Dementia Be Prevented

    Although dementia cant be prevented, living a health-focused life might reduce risk factors for certain types of dementia.

    Keeping blood vessels clear of cholesterol buildup, maintaining normal blood pressure, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, staying at a healthy weight basically, staying as healthy as you can can keep your brain fueled with the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function at its highest possible level. Specific healthful steps you can take include:

    • Follow a Mediterranean diet, which is one filled with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fish and shellfish, nuts, beans, olive oil and only limited amounts of red meats.
    • Exercise. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
    • Keep your brain engaged. Solve puzzles, play word games and try other mentally stimulating activities. These activities may delay the start of dementia.
    • Stay socially active. Interact with people, discuss current events, and keep your mind, heart and soul engaged.

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    How Is Dementia Diagnosed

    Diagnosing dementia is important because you might be able to slow down the process of cognitive decline with certain treatments. Also, if your symptoms stem from physical disease instead of brain disease, you might want to take a completely different route when seeking a remedy.

    For example, cataracts or hearing loss can impair your daily function. Some of the symptoms above may stem from fatigue or another medical condition. Being able to address the problem can improve your quality of life in your golden years.

    Addressing your symptoms with your primary care physician can help you determine the next steps. Your doctor may refer you to a neurologist. Although there is no definitive test for dementia, doctors can help diagnose the condition using the following:

    • Medical history
    • Psychiatric evaluation

    What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinson Disease

    A Comparison of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus to Alzheimer

    Parkinson disease symptoms usually start out mild, and then progressively get much worse. The first signs are often so subtle that many people don’t seek medical attention at first. These are common symptoms of Parkinson disease:

    • Tremors that affect the face and jaw, legs, arms, and hands
    • Slow, stiff walking

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    Number Of People Affected

    Parkinsons disease is thought to affect about 2 percent of Americans over 65. Of those, about 50 to 80 percent will go on to develop Parkinsons-related dementia.1 The Parkinsons Foundation estimates that nearly 1 million Americans will be living with Parkinsons by 2020. The disease affects 1.5 times more men than women.7

    Approximately 5.8 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimers disease. That number is expected to increase to 14 million by 2050.8 There is little difference between numbers of men and women who develop Alzheimers, but there are more women with the disease, because women tend to live longer than men.3

    Frontotemporal Dementia Vs Alzheimer’s

    Frontotemporal dementia is caused by progressive loss of nerve cells in the front and side areas of the brain. This is the area behind your forehead and behind your ears. These areas are responsible for decision making, behavior, emotion, and language. Damage to nerve cells will cause deterioration in these areas.

    The main symptoms of frontotemporal dementia are changes in personality and behavior, and trouble with language ability. This might be accompanied with a hard time writing and comprehension problems.

    Frontotemporal dementia was formerly referred to as Picks Disease. Dr. Arnold Pick first made notes about a patient with language skills problems back in 1892. Today, it might also be referred to as frontotemporal degeneration.

    Onset of frontotemporal dementia is usually around 60 years of age. It is less common than Alzheimers in seniors over 65 years of age. However, in the 45-65 age range, it is just as common as Younger-Onset Alzheimers.

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    How Does Lewy Body Disease Progress

    Lewy body disease differs from Alzheimer’s disease in that the progression of the disease is usually more rapid. However, like Alzheimer’s disease it is a degenerative condition, eventually leading to complete dependence. Death is usually a result of another illness, such as pneumonia or an infection. The average lifespan after the onset of symptoms is about seven years.

    Where To Get Help

    Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s disease? What’s the difference?
    • Your local community health service
    • Your local council
    • National Dementia Helpline Dementia Australia Tel. 1800 100 500
    • Aged Care Assessment Services Tel. 1300 135 090
    • My Aged Care Tel. 1800 200 422
    • Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service clinics Tel. 1300 135 090
    • Carers Victoria Tel. 1800 242 636
    • Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres Tel 1800 052 222
    • Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service Tel. 1800 699 799 for 24-hour telephone advice for carers and care workers

    Read Also: How Many Levels Of Dementia Are There


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