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What Is The Difference Between Alzheimer’s And Dementia Symptoms

Outlook For People With Dementia

What’s the difference between Alzheimer’s and 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.

Rem Sleep Behavior Disorder

LBD: People with LBD sometimes experience REM sleep behavior disorder, a dysfunction where they physically act out the situations in their dreams. Some research suggests that REM sleep behavior disorder can be one of the earlier predictors of LBD.

Alzheimers:REM sleep behavior disorder is not typically present in Alzheimers, although other types of sleep disturbances may occur.

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.

Further information:

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Mayo Clinic Q And A: Lewy Body Dementia And Alzheimers Disease Whats The Difference

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Whats the difference between Lewy body dementia and Alzheimers? How is Lewy body dementia diagnosed?

ANSWER: Doctors diagnose Lewy body dementia based on the range of symptoms a person shows. Generally, a Lewy body dementia diagnosis requires an ongoing decline in thinking skills, along with two of the following: visual hallucinations, Parkinsonism or fluctuating alertness. In addition, people who have Lewy body dementia also may experience a sleep condition known as REM sleep behavior disorder, in which people act out their dreams while they sleep. They also may have instability in their blood pressure and heart rate, and the body may have difficulty controlling body temperature and sweating.

A brain disease that gets worse over time, Lewy body dementia is caused by an abnormal protein, called synuclein, which is deposited in certain nerve cells and nerve processes. These deposits are called Lewy bodies named after the physician who first identified them. In Lewy body dementia, Lewy bodies are found in the deep structures of the brain that control movement, as well as in the middle and outer structures involved in emotion, behavior, judgment and awareness.

Lewy body dementia is a complex disease, and it can be difficult to control. Currently, theres no cure. But, when treatment is carefully managed, symptoms may be reduced, so they have less effect on a persons daily functioning and quality of life.

Myths About Dementia And Alzheimers Disease

What is the difference between Alzheimers and Dementia?

The right treatment and support are critical to the well-being of anyone diagnosed with any form of dementia, so its important to know fact from fiction when it comes to these common myths.

Myth: Dementia is a normal part of aging.

Fact: Dementia is a disease of the brainnot a normal part of aging. Forgetting where you put your keys is a common problem for a lot of people as they age. But signs of dementia are more than just moments of forgetfulness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . With dementia, a person may be unable to complete ordinary tasks at home or at work, get lost in familiar places and forget the function of common items. When these symptoms appear, its time to see a doctor.

Myth: You cant reduce your risk of getting Alzheimers disease or other kinds of dementiayou either get it or you dont.

Fact: Adopting healthy habits can lower your risk of developing dementia, or at least delay the onset. Healthy body, healthy mind, says Dr. Caselli. What we can control, we should control. Though he adds that even a lifetime of healthy habits is no guarantee of protection.

Myth: Since there is no cure, theres no point in getting a diagnosis.

Myth: A diagnosis of Alzheimers or another form of dementia means life as you know it will soon end.

Myth: Coping with a family member with Alzheimers is overwhelmingly difficult.

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Causes And Risk Factors

The cause depends on the type, but the exact causes of many forms of dementia are currently unclear.

Dementia is not an inevitable part of aging, but age is one of the main risk factors. In fact, up to 50% of people aged 85 years and older may have a type of dementia.

Also, in the United States, around 11.3% of people aged over 65 years currently have Alzheimers disease, according to the Alzheimers Association. This number rises to 34.6% in those aged 85 years and older. Symptoms tend to worsen with age.

It is possible to develop dementia at a younger age, but the condition is more common among older adults.

What Is Dementia Symptoms Types And Diagnosis

Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning thinking, remembering, and reasoning to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions, and their personalities may change. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of living.

Dementia is more common as people grow older but it is not a normal part of aging. Many people live into their 90s and beyond without any signs of dementia.

There are several different forms of dementia, including Alzheimers disease. A persons symptoms can vary depending on the type.

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Alzheimers Vs Dementia Symptoms

Although the symptoms of Alzheimers disease and dementia are similar, there are major variances. Both disorders have the potential to cause:

  • Deterioration in ones ability to think
  • Memory loss is a problem.
  • difficulty in communication

Alzheimers disease symptoms include:

  • Recent experiences or conversations are difficult to recall.
  • Apathy, sadness, and poor judgement are all symptoms of apathy.
  • Confusion.
  • In the later stages of the disease, you may have trouble speaking, swallowing, or walking.

The Signs Of Normal Ageing And Dementia

What’s 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.

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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.

Risk Factors For Dementia

Progressive dementias are part of a disease process and can’t be prevented, but you may be able to reduce your risk of some other types of dementia by taking these steps:

  • Reduce your risk of brain injury. Wear helmets when participating in activities that could result in a head injury. Wear your seat belt when in a motor vehicle. Seek medical help if you do have a head injury or suspect you might have a concussion, particularly if you already had a previous injury.
  • Watch for signs and symptoms of infection and seek treatment as soon as possible if you think an infection is present.
  • Report any drug side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.
  • See your doctor if there’s a change in your mental state so you can be evaluated for possible causes.

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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.

What Are The Stages Of Dementia

What is the difference between Alzheimers and Dementia ...

Many cases of dementia start with early warning signs.

This early stage is known as cognitive impairment and can be barely noticeable or mistaken for something else, such as depression.

These include slight:

  • problems with attention and concentration
  • mood or behavioural changes

These symptoms can indicate that some brain damage has already occurred and treatment needs to be started immediately before symptoms get worse and are more difficult to treat.

Changes often happen in sudden steps, with relatively stable periods in between, although its difficult to predict when these steps will happen so acting fast is the key.

As well as the symptoms listed above, further possible signs can include feeling disorientated and confused, memory loss and difficulty concentrating, struggling to find the right words and severe personality changes including becoming aggressive, finding it difficult to walk, struggling to control urination and seeing things that arent there.

The signs for early Alzheimers are similar including losing items frequently, forgetting conversations or events and getting lost on familiar journeys.

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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.

How Alzheimers Is Different

At its onset, Alzheimers tends to affect more of your learning and memory than other types of dementia, which might be more likely to impact your planning or language. In the brain of a person with Alzheimers disease, there are buildups of beta amyloid protein fragments between nerve cells as well as tangles of the protein tau inside cells. Scientists dont know exactly how these plaques and tangles contribute to Alzheimers disease, but some believe they throw off communication between nerve cells and interfere with normal cell processes, according to the Alzheimers Association. As the disease progresses and more of the brain is affected, a person may experience behavior changes, confusion, delusions, and difficulty speaking or walking. Other types of dementia can progress differently, depending on what parts of the brain are affected.

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How Do The Symptoms Of Dementia And Alzheimers Compare

There are a really wide range of possible dementia symptoms, but Alzheimers symptoms are a little more specific. Dementia symptoms vary depending on what is causing the dementia, and also vary from one person to the next. The main dementia symptoms fall into three different groups:

  • Difficulties with remembering, thinking and language. The person might be forgetful, repeat questions, struggle to remember words and have conversations, or be disoriented.
  • Difficulties with daily activities. They might struggle with their routine maybe becoming unhygienic or neglecting their home. They might also get lost in familiar places.
  • Emotional and behavioural difficulties. There are a whole range of these, including being withdrawn or apathetic, low or anxious, suspicious of others, or even aggressive. The person could also be restless and have trouble sleeping.

The different causes of dementia may have different symptoms in the early stages. But as the conditions progress, someone is more likely to have the full range of dementia symptoms.

In Alzheimers specifically, the first thing that tends to appear is memory problems. The person might also lose interest in their favourite activities or hobbies. As time goes on, these problems will get worse. The person may get more confused, and struggle to plan and follow instructions. In the later stages of Alzheimers, more serious symptoms like hallucinations, aggression, depression and incontinence can appear.

How To Prevent Dementia

What’s the difference between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia?

Just because your mom or brother developed a form of dementia, that doesnt mean youre destined to have it as well. The good news is that there are things that we can be doing in our life to reduce our risk, says Sexton. Keep activephysically active, cognitively active, and socially activeand reduce cardiovascular risk factors. Other known risk factors for dementia include obesity, hypertension, and diabetes so monitoring and managing those conditions can help. Of course, theres no guarantee, but its smart to do whatever you can now to lower the likelihood that you will suffer from dementia later.

This is an extremely active area of research, says Sexton. She says major discoveries are on the horizon in the areas of diagnostic blood tests for dementia, modifiable risk factors like air pollution, and risk factors that vary between different populations of people. So keep an eye out for news and check out these sites to see if you or a loved one qualify to participate in research studies.

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What Is Alzheimers Disease

The most typical type of dementia is Alzheimers disease. Alzheimers disease affects 60 to 80 per cent of patients with dementia. Its a degenerative disease that worsens over time, and it mainly affects adults over the age of 65. There is currently no treatment available.

It occurs when proteins and fibres accumulate in your brain, obstructing nerve signals and causing nerve cell death. The symptoms of memory loss may be moderate at first, but they get more severe over time. The following are some of the most common Alzheimers symptoms:

  • Names, events, and conversations are difficult to recall.
  • Concentration problem.
  • Change in personality, such as a lack of concern for things you used to care about, suspicion of people, or violence.
  • Impaired decision-making or judgement.
  • Confusion.

Carrying on a conversation or performing daily duties becomes more difficult. A doctor cannot say with certainty that you have Alzheimers disease, but there are things they may do to be reasonably confident. These involve tests of your attention, memory, language, and vision, as well as brain images. These images are collected with an MRI, which creates detailed images using powerful magnets and radio waves.

What Is The Difference Between Alzheimers And Dementia

Dementia impacts an estimated 5 million American seniors aged 65 and older, and that number is projected to rise to 14 million by 2060. While the terms Alzheimers and dementia are often used interchangeably, Alzheimers disease is one of the many types of dementia, much like how arthritis is a blanket term that describes over 100 forms of joint pain, inflammation or disease.

Keep reading to learn about the similarities and differences between Alzheimers and dementia, the prevalence of memory loss in the United States and some of the common causes of cognitive issues among adults.

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Treating Alzheimers Disease Vs Other Types Of Dementia

There is no cure for Alzheimers disease or most other types of dementia. Treatments are focused on treating symptoms and preventing the condition from worsening. Some dementia and Alzheimers treatments are similar.

  • Cholinesterase inhibitors can help with memory loss in dementia and Alzheimers disease patients.
  • In both dementia and Alzheimers, glutamate inhibitors aid learning and memory.
  • Changes in sleep patterns may be treated with the use of sleep medicines.
  • Antidepressants can help with the symptoms of depression.
  • Antipsychotic drugs may helpful in behavioural change.

Depending on the cause of dementia, certain types respond to treatment. Your doctor may advise you to:

  • Putting an end to drug and alcohol abuse
  • The removal of a tumour
  • Taking care of a B12 deficiency
  • Hydrocephalus treatment
  • Getting your blood sugar in check
  • Medication for thyroid problems

Who Can Diagnose Dementia

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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.

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