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Dementia Symptoms Vs Alzheimer’s

Is It Alzheimers Or Vascular Dementia

Alzheimer’s Disease vs Dementia

There are several key differences when comparing the two:

  • The cause of Alzheimers disease is as yet not known. It usually progresses slowly, with balance and coordination problems occurring within the later stages of the disease.
  • Vascular dementia is triggered by a stroke or TIA, and is linked to other vascular problems . The advancement of this type of dementia takes place in specific stages, with balance and coordination problems in the earliest stage.

Dementia And Alzheimers Treatment

Dementia may be categorized as either reversible or irreversible, with reversible dementia being able to be treated and potentially cured. There are no cures for progressive dementias, but the symptoms can be managed with therapy. Alzheimers disease is irreversible and has no cure. Since progressive dementias like Alzheimers disease share common symptoms, many of the treatments for Alzheimers disease and other dementias are similar.

What Are The Symptoms Of Early

For most people with early-onset Alzheimer disease, the symptoms closely mirror those of other forms of Alzheimer disease.

Early symptoms:

  • Withdrawal from work and social situations

  • Changes in mood and personality

Later symptoms:

  • Severe mood swings and behavior changes

  • Deepening confusion about time, place, and life events

  • Suspicions about friends, family, or caregivers

  • Trouble speaking, swallowing, or walking

  • Severe memory loss

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How Is Dementia Treated

Treatment of dementia depends on the underlying cause. Neurodegenerative dementias, like Alzheimers disease, have no cure, though there are medications that can help protect the brain or manage symptoms such as anxiety or behavior changes. Research to develop more treatment options is ongoing.

Leading a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, healthy eating, and maintaining social contacts, decreases chances of developing chronic diseases and may reduce number of people with dementia.

Dementia Vs Alzheimers: Comparing The Symptoms

Dementia vs Alzheimers: What is the Difference?

It is common for the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimers to overlap. However, there are some critical differences between them, as well. For example, both of these conditions can cause:

  • Memory impairment
  • A decline in the ability to think

Meanwhile, the symptoms of Alzheimers disease include:

  • Difficulty swallowing, speaking or walking towards the advanced stages of the disease

There are some forms of dementia that also share some of the same symptoms, but they may also include or exclude other symptoms that help doctors come to a differential diagnosis.

For example, Lewy Body Dementia shares many of the same symptoms as Alzheimers, particularly the symptoms from advanced Alzheimers. However, people with Lewy Body Dementia are also more likely to experience certain initial symptoms that are not similar to Alzheimers. These include symptoms such as difficulties with balance, sleep disturbances, and visual hallucinations.

People with dementia that is caused by Huntingtons or Parkinsons are also more likely to experience involuntary movement, especially during the starting stages of the disease.

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Symptoms In The Later Stages Of Dementia

As dementia progresses, memory loss and difficulties with communication often become severe. In the later stages, the person is likely to neglect their own health, and require constant care and attention.

The most common symptoms of advanced dementia include:

  • memory problems people may not recognise close family and friends, or remember where they live or where they are
  • communication problems some people may eventually lose the ability to speak altogether. Using non-verbal means of communication, such as facial expressions, touch and gestures, can help
  • mobility problems many people become less able to move about unaided. Some may eventually become unable to walk and require a wheelchair or be confined to bed
  • behavioural problems a significant number of people will develop what are known as “behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia”. These may include increased agitation, depressive symptoms, anxiety, wandering, aggression, or sometimes hallucinations
  • bladder incontinence is common in the later stages of dementia, and some people will also experience bowel incontinence
  • appetite and weight loss problems are both common in advanced dementia. Many people have trouble eating or swallowing, and this can lead to choking, chest infections and other problems. Alzheimer’s Society has a useful factsheet on eating and drinking

Symptoms Specific To Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of dementia, after Alzheimer’s. Some people have both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, often called “mixed dementia”.

Symptoms of vascular dementia are similar to Alzheimer’s disease, although memory loss may not be as obvious in the early stages.

Symptoms can sometimes develop suddenly and quickly get worse, but they can also develop gradually over many months or years.

Specific symptoms can include:

  • stroke-like symptoms: including muscle weakness or temporary paralysis on one side of the body
  • movement problems difficulty walking or a change in the way a person walks
  • thinking problems having difficulty with attention, planning and reasoning
  • mood changes depression and a tendency to become more emotional

Read more about vascular dementia.

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Who Gets Alzheimers Disease

Anyone can develop Alzheimers disease, but it is more common in older age.

Genetics, lifestyle and health factors are associated with an increased risk of developing dementia.

In a few cases, Alzheimers disease is inherited, caused by a genetic mutation. This is called familial Alzheimers disease, with symptoms occurring at a relatively young age. This is usually when someone is in their 50s, but sometimes younger.

Treatment Of Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s disease? What’s the difference?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive and terminal disease that currently has no known cure. The good news is that there are treatment options that reduce the severity of its symptoms and improve the functioning of a person with this condition.

The following drugs have been approved by the FDA specifically for the treatment of different symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Cholinesterase inhibitors: These are used to improve symptoms of cognitive decline and dementia in people with Alzheimer’s. These include drugs such as Exelon , Aricept , and Razadyne
  • Aduhelm : This works by eliminating amyloid proteins, which have been found to be built up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease and potentially cause the condition.
  • Namenda : This is typically used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. It’s thought to work by regulating a chemical messenger called glutamate, which helps rescue its harmful effects on the brain.

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Walking And Physical Movement

Vascular dementia: Vascular dementia is often accompanied by some physical challenge. If a person has a stroke, they may have limited movement on one side of her body. Both the cognitive and physical impairments related to vascular dementia usually develop at the same time since they are often the result of a sudden condition like a stroke.

Alzheimers: Often, mental abilities like memory or judgment decline initially, and then as Alzheimer’s progresses into the middle stages, physical abilities like balance or walking show some deterioration.

Can Alzheimer’s Disease Be Prevented

As the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not clear, there’s no known way to prevent the condition.

But there are things you can do that may reduce your risk or delay the onset of dementia, such as:

These measures have other health benefits, such as lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease and improving your overall mental health.

Read more about preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Dementia

Everybody with dementia will experience symptoms differently. It also depends on what is causing the dementia. Most dementia symptoms fall into three categories.

  • Difficulties with remembering, thinking and language. For example, being forgetful, disorientated and repeating questions. Or struggling to remember words and have conversations.
  • Difficulties completing daily activities. For example, struggling to take care of yourself or your home, or getting lost in familiar places.
  • Emotional problems and changes in behaviour. For example, becoming withdrawn, low or anxious, being restless and have trouble sleeping.

Sometimes people with Alzheimers struggle to communicate how theyre feeling because of the changes to their brain. This means they might get upset or act aggressively if theyre feel scared, upset or confused.

Dementia Vs Alzheimers Disease

Dementia vs Alzheimers: What is the Difference?

First of all, lets get one thing cleared up dementia and Alzheimers disease are not the same things. Dementia is a term used to refer to the symptoms that affect a persons memory, their performance of daily activities, and their communication abilities.

Alzheimers disease, on the other hand, is one of the most common types of dementia that affects adults. Alzheimers disease continues getting worse over time, and it affects a persons memory, thoughts, language, and many other factors in their life.

It is possible even for younger people to develop Alzheimers disease or dementia, but your risk considerably increases as you age. Nevertheless, neither dementia non Alzheimers is considered to be a normal part of aging.

The symptoms of these two conditions may overlap, but distinguishing these two conditions is essential for the management and treatment of both dementia and Alzheimers.

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Symptoms Specific To Dementia With Lewy Bodies

Dementia with Lewy bodies has many of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and people with the condition typically also experience:

  • periods of being alert or drowsy, or fluctuating levels of confusion
  • visual hallucinations
  • becoming slower in their physical movements
  • repeated falls and fainting

Read more about dementia with Lewy bodies.

Women Might Be At Higher Risk

Age is the major risk factor for Alzheimers disease, and women on average live longer than men.

However, longevity alone does not fully explain why two-thirds of Alzheimers patients are women. Even after taking into account the difference in longevity, some studies have suggested that women are still at a higher risk.

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What Causes Alzheimers Disease

Apart from the few people with familial Alzheimers disease, it is not known why some people develop Alzheimers disease and others do not.

Health and lifestyle factors that may contribute to the development of Alzheimers disease include:

  • physical inactivity
  • changes in ability to plan, problem solve, organise and think logically
  • taking longer to do routine tasks
  • language and comprehension difficulties, such as problems finding the right word
  • increasing disorientation in time, place and person
  • problems in becoming motivated and initiating tasks
  • changes in behaviour, personality and mood.

Someone experiencing symptoms may be unable to recognise any changes in themselves. Often a family member or friend of someone affected will observe changes in a person.

Symptoms vary as the condition progresses and as different areas of the brain are affected. A persons abilities may fluctuate from day to day, or even within the same day. Symptoms can worsen in times of stress, fatigue or ill-health.

Dementia Caused By Huntingtons Disease

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

Huntingtons disease is an inherited degenerative brain disease that affects the mind and body. It usually appears between the ages of 30 and 50, and is characterised by intellectual decline and irregular involuntary movement of the limbs or facial muscles. Other symptoms include personality change, memory disturbance, slurred speech, impaired judgement and psychiatric problems.There is no treatment available to stop the progression of this disease, but medication can control movement disorders and psychiatric symptoms. Dementia occurs in the majority of people with Huntingtons disease.

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What Are The Risk Factors For Dementia

Risk factors for dementia include:

  • Age: This is the strongest risk factor. Your chance of dementia increases as you age. Most cases affect people over the age of 65.
  • Family history: If you have biological parents or siblings with dementia, youre more likely to develop dementia.
  • Down syndrome: If you have Down syndrome, youre at risk of developing early-onset Alzheimers disease by middle age.
  • Poor heart health: If you have high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis or smoke, you increase your risk of dementia. These health problems, as well as diabetes, affect your blood vessels. Damaged blood vessels can lead to reduced blood flow and strokes.
  • Race and ethnicity: If youre a Black person, you have twice the risk as a white person for developing dementia. If youre a Hispanic person, youre 1.5 times more likely than a white person to develop dementia.
  • Brain injury: If youve had a severe brain injury, youre at a higher risk for dementia.

Does Memory Loss Mean Dementia Is Starting

One common misbelief about memory loss is that it always means you or a loved one has dementia. There are many causes of memory loss. Memory loss alone doesnt necessarily confirm a diagnosis of dementia.

Its also true that some memory changes are normal as a person ages . However, this type of memory loss isnt functionally disabling meaning, it doesnt interfere with daily life.

Dementia interferes with your ability to function. Dementia isnt forgetting where you left your keys. A person with dementia can have situations like forgetting what keys are used for. Dementia isnt a normal part of aging.

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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

Treatment For Alzheimers Disease

Dementia vs Alzheimers: What is the Difference?

Keep in mind that there is no cure available for Alzheimers disease, but there are many options available today that help in the management of symptoms of the disease. These include:

  • Taking medications for memory loss, including cholinesterase inhibitors donepezil , memantine , and rivastigmine .
  • Taking medications for the behavioral changes, including antipsychotics
  • Taking medications for depression and sleep changes
  • Trying alternative remedies for boosting brain function as well as overall health. These include fish oil or coconut oil.

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Who Can Diagnose Dementia

Visiting a primary care doctor is often the first step for people who are experiencing changes in thinking, movement, or behavior. However, neurologists doctors who specialize in disorders of the brain and nervous system are often consulted to diagnose dementia. Geriatric psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, and geriatricians may also be able to diagnose dementia. Your doctor can help you find a specialist.

If a specialist cannot be found in your community, contact the nearest medical school neurology department for a referral. A medical school hospital also may have a dementia clinic that provides expert evaluation. You can also visit the Alzheimers Disease Research Centers directory to see if there is an NIA-funded center near you. These centers can help with obtaining a diagnosis and medical management of conditions.

What Is Alzheimers Disease

Dementia is the term applied to a group of symptoms that negatively impact memory, but Alzheimers is a specific progressive disease of the brain that slowly causes impairment in memory and cognitive function. The exact cause is unknown, and no cure is available.

Although younger people can and do get Alzheimers, the symptoms generally begin after age 65.

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Characteristics Of Alzheimers Disease

The symptoms of Alzheimers disease are similar to those of dementia and include:

  • Progressive memory loss
  • Changes in mood and personality

In most cases, Alzheimers disease is not caused by a single factor but by a combination of factors involving genetics, environmental factors, lifestyle choices and habits. Age also increases the risk of Alzheimers disease. Effects of Alzheimers disease include a progressive worsening of cognitive deficits and functional abilities over time. The cognitive decline at the onset involves general forgetfulness, an inability to follow complex instructions and difficulty learning new information.

As the disease progresses, deficits in memory loss, orientation, decision-making and communication become worse. Similarly, there is a progressive loss in the ability to conduct daily activities like managing finances and cooking. Over time, there is a complete loss of functional autonomy.

These changes are evaluated and categorized using assessment scales by clinicians for the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimers disease. According to the commonly used Global Deterioration Scale , there are seven stages of Alzheimers disease. Each stage marks a further decline in cognitive abilities and the ability to perform daily functions.

How Common Is Dementia

Alzheimers disease vs. dementia: Whats the difference?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 5 million U.S. adults age 65 or older have Alzheimers and related dementia. By 2060, the CDC projects that about 14 million people will have dementia, which is about 3.3% of the population.

Alzheimers disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the fifth leading cause of death in Americans age 65 and older.

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Alzheimers Disease And Vascular Dementia Are The First And Second Most Common Forms Of Dementia What Sets Them Apart

As the proportion of older people in the population around the world increases, the prevalence of dementia will increase in turn. By 2030, it is estimated that 78 million people worldwide will be living with dementia, up from an estimated 50 million people today.Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60 to 70 percent of total dementia cases. Vascular dementia is the second most common form, accounting for five to 10 percent of all dementia cases. Vascular dementia is associated with a reduction in blood flow to the brain. People with Alzheimers disease will have deposits of toxic amyloid and tau protein plaques in their brain.

Both diseases have similar share risk factors and symptoms, making them sometimes difficult to differentiate. Here are a couple key things to know about vascular dementia.

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