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How To Tell The Difference Between Dementia And Alzheimer’s

The Signs Of Normal Ageing And Dementia

How to tell the difference between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

The table below lists some of the possible changes due to both normal ageing and early dementia. However, it is important to remember that everyone is different and not everyone with dementia will have all of these changes.

Other conditions may also account for some of them. For example, a person with depression can have problems making decisions, get confused easily and appear withdrawn or irritable.

How To Understand The Difference And Why It Matters

by Kathleen Fifield, AARP, Updated June 15, 2020

Doctors usually rely on observation and ruling out other factors to diagnose Alzheimer’s.

En español | The terms dementia and Alzheimers have been around for more than a century, which means people have likely been mixing them up for that long, too. But knowing the difference is important. In the simplest terms, one is broader than the other. If the two were nesting dolls, Alzheimers would fit inside dementia, but not the other way around. While Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia , there are several other types. The second most common form, vascular dementia, has a very different cause namely, high blood pressure. Other types of dementia include alcohol-related dementia, Parkinsons dementia and frontotemporal dementia each has different causes as well. In addition, certain medical conditions can cause serious memory problems that resemble dementia.

A correct diagnosis means the right medicines, remedies and support. For example, knowing that you have Alzheimers instead of another type of dementia might lead to a prescription for a cognition-enhancing drug instead of an antidepressant. Finally, you may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial for Alzheimers if youve been specifically diagnosed with the disease.

How Do You Tell The Difference Between Dementia And Forgetfulness

Where did I put my keys?

That question can lead to an extensive quest around the living room, behind couch cushions and throughout your home. It seems like youre always misplacing your keys.

But is that reason to worry? After all, how do you tell the difference between dementia and forgetfulness?

We provide this useful guide as well as signs that your loved one may need and benefit from memory care.

Recommended Reading: Alzheimers Dement

Is There Anything I Can Do

If your memory is OK but you’re still worried, there may be something you can do about it. People who spend time reading, solving puzzles, or otherwise staying engaged are less likely to get Alzheimer’s. It’s possible that these activities can help you to keep your mind sharp. It’s also a good idea to lower your stress, eat right, and exercise.


Stroke Vs Dementia: Differences Based On Their Treatment

Dementia vs Alzheimers

When a stroke occurs, the first 3-24 hours after is referred to as the golden window or golden hour. It is called so as there is a good chance of reversing any damage that the stroke may have caused to the brain by starting the patient on medication soon after initial diagnosis of a stroke. Early treatment is crucial in stroke cases as blood flow to a part of the brain is cut off due to a clot in the artery. Brain cells are dying every minute and irreversible damage is caused the more delay that occurs. tPA is given via IV so as to dissolve the clot and improve blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of blood flow.

Dementia treatment depends on the cause firstly. In cases of Alzheimers disease with dementia, there is no cure per se. But the symptoms or progression of Dementia can be slowed down with the help of medication. Symptomatic treatment is the basis for treatment here.

Stroke is caused due to a clot in the artery which obstructs the flow of oxygen to a part of the brain whereas dementia is a decline in mental function, which can pose other risks in day to day life and require constant supervision and support.

It can be difficult to differentiate between a stroke and dementia, but with a little knowledge of the both and also reaching out to someone else if you have the slightest doubt can go a long way in helping save a life.

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Read Also: Difference Between Dementia And Senility

Dementia Vs Alzheimer’s: Differences And Similarities

  • Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s: Differences and Similarities Center
  • 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:

    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.

    The Difference Between Alzheimer’s And Dementia

    The main difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia is that Alzheimer’s is a disease, and dementia is not. Instead, it’s an umbrella term for a group of symptoms that includes memory loss, a decline in language and comprehension skills, a reduction in judgment skills, and the inability to think through tasks, such as finding your way home from the store, preparing a meal, or getting dressed.

    Alzheimer’s, on the other hand, is a disease that causes this set of symptoms. Currently, there are more than five million people in the United States who have Alzheimer’s disease, and scientists predict that this number will increase to 14 million by 2050.

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    Recognizing Depression Or Normal Memory Loss Vs Dementia And How To Tell The Difference

    May 23, 2017

    As we age, we sometimes get a little more forgetful.

    As we age, we sometimes get a little more forgetful. While most people understand that this is just a normal part of getting older, there are some who fear that forgetfulness is the first sign of Alzheimers disease or some other form of dementia. There has been a lot of research focused around aging and memory loss recently, and researchers have learned a lot about what is normal versus a more serious problem.

    Aging is not the only factor that contributes to memory loss, however. Many older adults develop memory problems as a result of health issues that may be treatable. These can include: side effects due to medications, vitamin deficiencies, substance abuse or possibly even reduced organ function due to thyroid, kidney or living disorders. These can be serious medical conditions and should be treated as soon as possible.

    In addition to the aforementioned medical issues which can precipitate memory loss or impairment, there is what seems to be the most common reason: depression. Depression in older adults has been as steadily growing problem, and emotional problems such as stress, anxiety or depression can and quite often do lead to forgetfulness, confusion and other symptoms that are similar to those of dementia.

    What is Dementia?

    How to Tell the Difference

    Alzheimers Association

    When To See The Healthcare Provider

    What is the Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimers Disease?

    When memory problems look more like those listed above for Alzheimer’s, it is time to talk to your healthcare provider. Similarly, when problems involve dangerous behaviors , significant changes in mood, and losses in abilities like dressing and personal hygiene, it is time to seek professional help. Even if the memory problems are minor, seeking reassurance from your healthcare provider may be the best thing you can do.

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    Alzheimers Disease Vs Dementia: How To Tell The Difference

    Anneliese Peterson | Oct 2, 2015

    Over five million people in the United States have Alzheimers disease. Its a chronic, non-curable disease. Dementia and Alzheimers are entirely different, but they are often grouped together, to the point of the two being interchangeable. There are significant differences between these two conditions, including prognosis and care plans. Well break it down for you

    What Is The Difference Between Dementia And Alzheimer’s

    Most people are able to go well into old age without experiencing significant decline in memory or other cognitive functions. But trouble with memory, critical thinking skills, and other aspects of daily life are a reality for many people over the age of 60. Some of this is indeed natural. But as various symptoms begin to add up, it is worth seeking medical advice to find out whether or not dementia or Alzheimer’s disease might be at play.

    Symptoms of dementia go beyond minor inconveniences as they progress, they interfere more and more with day-to-day activities and undermine quality of life. There are many different dementia symptoms that indicate a range of possible conditions, from those affecting brain cells to those involving an excess of spinal fluid in the brain.

    Many of these conditions are progressive, but some can be managed. Knowing the early warning signs can help you be prepared if medical care becomes necessary. Here is what you need to know about dementia vs. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive decline.

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    More Types Of Dementia

    One important distinction to make when it comes to dementia and Alzheimer’s is that some types of dementia can be reversed, but dementia caused by Alzheimer’s is not one of them. Dementia can also be caused by heavy metal or pesticide poisoning, infections, endocrine imbalances , and even reactions to medications. These types of dementia can be reversible, but progressive dementias are not.

    Early Signs And Symptoms Are Different


    Parkinsons disease generally begins as a movement disorder. Early signs and symptoms include:2

    • Tremor, which often begins in the hand or fingers
    • Slowed movement, which may include foot dragging
    • Rigidity
    • Slowed automatic movements such as blinking, smiling, and swinging your arms when you walk

    Alzheimers disease generally begins as noticeable memory loss. Early signs and symptoms include:3,4

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    Stroke Vs Dementia: Differences Worth Knowing

    Oftentimes it is difficult for the onlooker to differentiate between a stroke and dementia. Both present as neurological conditions wherein the symptoms might seem similar and unless an expert in the medical field is consulted, the onset would go off unnoticed. Several overlapping symptoms make it difficult for the disease to present itself at first glance. Read on to get more information about the subtle differences between Stroke and Dementia.

    What Is Mild Cognitive Impairment

    Mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, is a condition in which people have more memory problems than normal for their age but are still able to carry out their normal daily activities. A doctor can do thinking, memory, and language tests to see if a person has MCI. People with MCI are at a greater risk for developing Alzheimers disease, so its important to see a doctor or specialist regularly if you have this condition.

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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.

    The Difference Between Alzheimers And Dementia

    Alzheimer’s or Typical Forgetfulness? How Do You Tell the Difference? Dr. Richard Lipton (excerpt)

    Although you may hear the terms dementia and Alzheimers disease used interchangeably, it’s important to know they are distinct concepts. Alzheimer’s is a specific health condition, although it is the most common cause of dementia.

    Other causes of dementia include:

    Recommended Reading: 7th Stage Of Dementia

    What Are The Symptoms Of Dementia And Alzheimers

    The symptoms of dementia vary depending on its cause. The common symptoms are:

    • Problems in communication and speech
    • Alterations in thinking ability
    • Problems with judgment and reasoning
    • Abnormal visual perceptions such as seeing things which are not there , inability to detect movement or see the difference between colors

    Alzheimers disease progresses through different stages. Thus, the signs and symptoms may vary according to the stage of the disease. The typical signs of Alzheimers are:

    • The person has a progressive decline in memory
    • They report the inability to focus and concentrate
    • The person repeatedly asks the same questions
    • They forget something they just read
    • They have trouble staying organized
    • They find it difficult to make and execute plans
    • They tend to forget names
    • A lack of interest in the surroundings: the person avoids conversations or participating in activities
    • Inability to remember personal details such as phone number and home address
    • They may confuse people and relations, for instance, they may confuse their wife with their mother.
    • They forget names but may recognize faces.
    • They may also exhibit loss of bowel and bladder control.
    • The person needs help for basic needs such as eating, drinking, sitting up and walking. They may even forget how to smile or swallow their food properly.
    • They often develop stiffness and joint deformities.

    Dementia Care And Alzheimers Care In Little Rock

    Here at CareLink, we provide resources for Alzheimers and other forms of Dementia care in Little Rock and the surrounding areas to help older people and their caregivers overcome the challenges accompanying these conditions. We offer HomeCare services, family caregiver support, and in-home respite care.

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    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.

    How Is Dementia Treated

    Is there a difference between Alzheimers and Dementia?

    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.

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    Is There Treatment Available

    At present there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, one group of drugs called cholinergeric drugs appears to be providing some temporary improvement in cognitive functioning for some people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

    Drugs can also be prescribed for secondary symptoms such as restlessness or depression or to help the person with dementia sleep better.

    Community support is available for the person with Alzheimer’s disease, their families and carers. This support can make a positive difference to managing dementia. Dementia Australia provides support, information and counselling for people affected by dementia. Dementia Australia also aims to provide up-to-date information about drug treatments.

    Further help

    For more information contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.

    For a range of books and videos contact our Library.

    For advice, common sense approaches and practical strategies on the issues most commonly raised about dementia, read our Help Sheets.

    Risk Factors For Dementia

    Two of the most common risk factors for Alzheimers and dementia are age and genetics. Most individuals with Alzheimers are 65 or older, and those who have a parent or sibling with Alzheimers are more likely to develop the disease. However, there is evidence to suggest that there are other factors that people can influence.

    According to research from the University of Cambridge, one-third of Alzheimers disease cases were attributed to preventable risk factors. The seven main risk factors for Alzheimers disease are diabetes, hypertension, obesity, physical inactivity, depression, smoking and low educational attainment.

    Minimizing the risk of these factors can potentially minimize the onset of dementia, but to an unknown degree, Ory said. We know that physical activity, a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle can help reduce the symptomology of many major diseases, and similarly these can affect the onset and progression of dementia symptomatology.

    If youre looking for a start to reducing the risk for dementia or Alzheimers, a healthy diet and getting enough exercise is a good start. Exercise has been shown to increase blood flow and help connections between neurons, which is important with cognitive functioning.

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