What Is Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting up to 70% of all people with dementia. It was first recorded in 1907 by Dr Alois Alzheimer. Dr Alzheimer reported the case of Auguste Deter, a middle-aged woman with dementia and specific changes in her brain. For the next 60 years Alzheimers disease was considered a rare condition that affected people under the age of 65. It was not until the 1970s that Dr Robert Katzman declared that “senile dementia” and Alzheimers disease were the same condition and that neither were a normal part of aging.
Alzheimers disease can be either;sporadic;or;familial.
Sporadic;Alzheimer’s disease can affect adults at any age, but usually occurs after age 65 and is the most common form of Alzheimer’s disease.
Familial;Alzheimers disease is a very rare genetic condition, caused by a mutation in one of several genes. The presence of mutated genes means that the person will eventually develop Alzheimer’s disease, usually in their 40’s or 50’s.
The Healthy Human Brain
Behind the ears and temples are the temporal lobes of the brain. These regions process speech and working memory, and also higher emotions such as empathy, morality and regret. Beneath the forebrain are the more primitive brain regions such as the limbic system. The limbic system is a structure that is common to all mammals and processes our desires and many emotions. Also in the limbic system is the hippocampus a region that is vital for forming new memories.
Ways To Prevent Cognitive Decline Dementia And Alzheimer’s
Socializing helps keep your brain cells active, improves your mood, and can help keep your brain healthy. Be sure to spend time with loved ones or friends on a regular basis to ensure good cognitive health. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this a difficult task for seniors; however, phone calls and video chats can also prove useful in staying social. An Alert1 emergency alert system can also help ensure you have a support system if you happen to fall or need medical attention.
Food is medicine, and the foods you eat can also affect your brain and cognitive functions. It is important to eat nutritious meals as you age. Here are some great nutrient-rich foods that will help your brain function.
Alzheimers Vs Dementia Symptoms
Because Alzheimers and other dementias cause cognitive impairment, symptoms for the various types of dementia often overlap.
Generally, Alzheimers and other dementias cause:
- Impaired memory
- A decline in the ability to think and use reason and judgement
- Impaired speaking and communication ability
Alzheimers symptoms typically include:
- Loss of short-term memory
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What Causes Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers disease takes place when proteins amass in the brain, interfering with brain cells ability to function normally. Unfortunately, researchers have not yet determined the cause of this protein build up.
That said, Alzheimers disease has been known to run in families. While there is no Alzheimers gene, scientists have identified three genes that are often associated with the disease.
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Dementia Vs Alzheimer’s: Differences And Similarities
The terms dementia and Alzheimers are often used interchangeably. They, however, are not completely synonymous. Dementia is a group of symptoms characterized by a decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning. Dementia is not simply the age-related forgetfulness; it is associated with other changes as well. It hinders a person from performing their routine tasks. They find it difficult to focus, understand, concentrate, and have a conversation besides other complaints. There are several causes of dementia:
- Alzheimers disease
- Dementia due to alcohol and other substance abuse
Although dementia is a cluster of symptoms, Alzheimers is a disease. It is the commonest type of dementia consisting of around 60-80% of dementia cases. Alzheimers disease is an irreversible, slowly progressive disorder of the brain that destroys memory and thinking skills which eventually makes a person unable to carry out the most basic tasks. Most people develop this disease in their mid-60s while for some;the symptoms first appear between their 30s and mid-60s. There are seven stages of Alzheimers, dementia occurs in the mid to late stages of the disease.;
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How Delirium And Dementia Are Related
Delirium and dementia are tightly related, though distinct, and often the two terms are confused in common usage. In fact, dementia is often a root cause in the manifestation of delirium, along with other contributing causes like electrolyte disorders; severe infections of the lungs, liver, heart, kidney or brain, prescription drug use and an unfamiliar environment.
Symptoms common in both delirium and dementia include:
- Difficulty solving complex problems
- Lack of focus and coherent thought
- Difficulty or complications when attempting to form new memories
There are no clear diagnostic tests to verify the presence of delirium, so acknowledgment relies solely on clinical observations. Before a patient is diagnosed with dementia, delirium must be ruled out as the condition.
Stage : Mild Dementia
At this stage, individuals may start to become socially withdrawn and show changes in personality and mood. Denial of symptoms as a defense mechanism is commonly seen in stage 4. Behaviors to look for include:
- Difficulty remembering things about one’s personal history
- Difficulty recognizing faces and people
In stage 4 dementia, individuals have no trouble recognizing familiar faces or traveling to familiar locations. However, patients in this stage will often avoid challenging situations in order to hide symptoms or prevent stress or anxiety.
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Brain Fog Vs Dementia
We all forget things. Even in our twenties we might lose our keys or forget the name of someone we just met. And as we age, these moments of forgetfulness happen more often.
For women in their late forties and early fifties, the onset of menopause can bring even more brain fog and memory lapses for many women.
But the big question is: when should you worry that something is wrong? Is it just menopause, or might it be early warning signs of Alzheimers disease or dementia?
Its important to remember that there are lots of causes for brain fog, says Lynne Shinto, N.D., M.P.H., a naturopath with expertise in neurology and womens health at the OHSU Center for Womens Health.
Most of them are far less scary than Alzheimers disease. Here are a few of the most common causes:
- Hormone changes during the transition to menopause
- Other hormone changes
- Lack of sleep
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Many of these causes come in pairs, or even trios. Stress can lead to lack of sleep or depression. The transition to menopause can lead to hot flashes that impact sleep, or to depression. Depression can lead to stress.
Poor thinking ability and memory problems are a very common symptom of depression.
For many people, treating their depression clears up symptoms of brain fog and cloudy thinking. For this reason, everyone with these symptoms, even people in their seventies and beyond, should be screened for depression.
Brain fog and dementia are different
Healthy brain aging
How Does Alzheimer’s Disease Progress
The rate of progression of the disease varies from person to person.
However, the disease does lead eventually to complete dependence and finally death, usually from another illness such as pneumonia. A person may live from three to twenty years with Alzheimer’s disease, with the average being seven to ten years.
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What Is Mixed Dementia
It is common for people with dementia to have more than one form of dementia. For example, many people with dementia have both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
Researchers who have conducted autopsy studies have looked at the brains of people who had dementia, and have suggested that most people age 80 and older probably have mixed dementia caused by a combination of brain changes related to Alzheimer’s disease,vascular disease-related processes, or another condition that involves the loss of nerve cell function or structure and nerve cell death .
Scientists are investigating how the underlying disease processes in mixed dementia start and influence each other. Further knowledge gains in this area will help researchers better understand these conditions and develop more personalized prevention and treatment strategies.
Other conditions that cause dementia-like symptoms can be halted or even reversed with treatment. For example, normal pressure hydrocephalus, an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, often resolves with treatment.
In addition, medical conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, and delirium can cause serious memory problems that resemble dementia, as can side effects of certain medicines.
Researchers have also identified many other conditions that can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms. These conditions include:
The Distinction Of Delirium
Delirium is a neuropsychiatric condition that occurs acutely, rather than chronically, sometimes for only hours at a time. Whereas dementia is almost always irreversible, and features a steady cognitive decline as the condition progresses, delirium is not a chronic impairment, and its acute manifestations can be effectively controlled.
Delirium is also unique for its severe disorganized thought. This usually leads to a period of inattention or distraction, making the individual unable to focus on tasks. While dementia also features a poor level of focus and concentration, the difference is that delirium’s lack of focus stems from rapidly processed thoughts, rather than the stifled ability to conduct thought.
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The Effects Of Alzheimers On The Brain
Damage to the brain begins years before symptoms appear. Abnormal protein deposits form plaques and tangles in the brain of someone with Alzheimers disease. Connections between cells are lost, and they begin to die. In advanced cases, the brain shows significant shrinkage.
Its impossible to diagnose Alzheimers with complete accuracy while a person is alive. The diagnosis can only be confirmed when the brain is examined under a microscope during an autopsy. However, specialists are able to make the correct diagnosis up to 90 percent of the time.
The symptoms of Alzheimers and dementia can overlap, but there can be some differences.
Both conditions can cause:
- behavioral changes
- difficulty speaking, swallowing, or walking in advanced stages of the disease
Some types of dementia will share some of these symptoms, but they include or exclude other symptoms that can help make a differential diagnosis. Lewy body dementia , for example, has many of the same later symptoms as Alzheimers. However, people with LBD but are more likely to experience initial symptoms such as visual hallucinations, difficulties with balance, and sleep disturbances.
People with dementia due to Parkinsons or Huntingtons disease are more likely to experience involuntary movement in the early stages of the disease.
Treatment for dementia will depend on the exact cause and type of dementia, but many treatments for dementia and Alzheimers will overlap.
Faqs About Dementia And Alzheimers Disease
- Are dementia and Alzheimer’s disease the same?
As outlined throughout this post, dementia and Alzheimers disease are two different things. Dementia is a group of symptoms that affect the mental abilities of an individual. Its a general term used to describe the decline in ones mental ability to a point that it interferes in their daily life. Alzheimers disease, on the other hand, is a progressive disease. Its a type of dementia that causes impairment in memory, language, and thoughts.
- Are dementia and Alzheimer’s disease hereditary?
People who have Alzheimers disease running in their family are more likely to have it; they are at a higher risk. The same goes for dementia. However, only in rare cases, theres a strong link between dementia and genes. There are many other factors that determine whether a person can have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
- Is dementia and Alzheimer’s disease a mental illness?
Dementia and Alzheimers disease do affect mental health. However, they arent particularly a mental illness but rather a brain disorder or a progressive neurodegenerative condition.
- How is dementia and Alzheimer’s disease diagnosed?
There are no definite tests to diagnose dementia and Alzheimers disease. Doctors consider various factors, including medical history, laboratory tests, change in behaviour, and more to determine if someone has dementia or Alzheimers disease.
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How Are They Different
When a person is diagnosed with dementia, they are being diagnosed with a set of symptoms. This is similar to someone who has a sore throat. Their throat is sore but it is not known what is causing that particular symptom. It could be allergies, a common cold or strep throat. Similarly, when someone has dementia they are experiencing symptoms without being told what is causing those symptoms.
Another major difference between the two is that Alzheimers is not a reversible disease. It is degenerative and incurable at this time. Some forms of dementia, such as a drug interaction or a vitamin deficiency, are actually reversible or temporary.
Once a cause of dementia is found, appropriate treatment and counseling can begin. Until a proper diagnosis is made, the best approach to any dementia is communication, engagement and loving care.
The Difference Between Alzheimers And Dementia
The word dementia doesnt refer to one specific condition. It actually describes a set of symptoms that result from a deterioration of brain function. These symptoms can include problems with thinking, reasoning, learning, memory and language; behavioural and emotional problems; and difficulties with daily activities.
It is estimated that there are over 850,000 people with dementia in the UK. Its more likely to affect older people, but its not an inevitable part of growing old, and its different from the forgetfulness that often comes with ageing.
Unfortunately, theres no cure, and it gets worse over time.
It can be caused by many different conditions. The most common of these conditions and the one youve probably heard of is Alzheimers disease.
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Outlook For People With Dementia
The outlook for patients suffering from dementia depends completely on the direct cause of dementia. The available treatments are used to make the symptoms of dementia manageable, but there is no sure-fire way of stopping the deterioration of the mind due to this disease.
Although vascular dementia can be slowed down in some cases, it can still shorten a patients lifespan. Some dementia variants are reversible, but most of them are irreversible and can cause physical and mental impairments, over time.
Memory And Physical Health
According to Dr. Candler, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for nearly 60 to 80 percent of all forms of dementia that are diagnosed annually. “In most cases, patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s initially only experience memory trouble, but are otherwise able to fully function physically until the end stages of the disease,” she says. “Other types of dementia, like Parkinson’s, lead to significant physical complications that can be present in earlier stages of the disease .”
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Now Dementia On The Other Hand Has Several Different Stages Including The Following :
The imaging techniques such as computed tomography scan of the brain might show some changes but the person does not exhibit any of the cognitive signs and symptoms.
- The person starts forgetting words or misplacing objects; this may go unnoticed by people around them.
- It should be remembered that this stage might also occur due to the normal;aging;process.
- The person suffers from short-term memory;lossforgetting what they just read and the names of new acquaintances.
- They cant make plans or organize things as earlier.
- They might frequently start misplacing and losing things.
- The person starts to lose interest in the things that they used to enjoy and avoids meeting people and, attending social events.
- Calculating simple expenses and adding up the financial bills becomes difficult.
- They become disoriented to time and placethey forget or figure out the present time, date, and place
- The signs and symptoms of cognitive decline become clear to everyone around the patient.
- Clinical diagnosis of dementia is most likely to be made at this stage.
- The person experiences major memory disturbances such as forgetting their phone number and address.
- They may forget how to bathe and face trouble while choosing and wearing clothes.
Stage 6 :;
Stage 7 :;
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What Is Known About Alzheimers Disease
Scientists do not yet fully understand what causes Alzheimers disease. There likely is not a single cause but rather several factors that can affect each person differently.
- Age is the best known risk factor for Alzheimers disease.
- Family historyresearchers believe that genetics may play a role in developing Alzheimers disease. However, genes do not equal destiny. A healthy lifestyle may help reduce your risk of developing Alzheimers disease. Two large, long term studies indicate that adequate physical activity, a nutritious diet, limited alcohol consumption, and not smoking may help people. To learn more about the study, you can listen to a short podcast.
- Changes in the brain can begin years before the first symptoms appear.
- Researchers are studying whether education, diet, and environment play a role in developing Alzheimers disease.
- There is growing scientific evidence that healthy behaviors, which have been shown to prevent cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, may also reduce risk for subjective cognitive decline. Heres 8 ways.
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How Common Is Dementia
Research shows there are more than 850,000 people in the UK who have dementia. One in;14 people over the age of 65 have dementia, and the condition affects 1 in 6 people over 80.
The number of people with dementia is increasing because people are living longer. It is estimated that by 2025, the number of people with dementia in the UK will be more than 1 million.