Discover Alzheimer VS Dementia 2021

Discover Alzheimer VS Dementia 2021

Alzheimer VS Dementia

Alzheimer’s as well as dementia, are medical conditions related to our nervous system. Both have almost similar symptoms However, there is a significant difference between the two. To properly understand Alzheimer vs dementia, let’s look into the quick definitions of both, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and their overview to clear out any confusion.

Dementia: Dementia is not a disease. It is a term used to express a wide range of symptoms that occur collectively. These symptoms impact a person’s thinking abilities, memory, learning, speech, behavior, and body movements.

Alzheimer’s disease: It is a disease of the nervous system that has the same symptoms as dementia. Alzheimer’s patients will eventually exhibit the same symptoms of dementia that will worsen over time. Alzheimer vs dementia can be more understandable if explained like following. Alzheimer’s disease can be categorized as a type of dementia because dementia itself is not a disease, but an umbrella term used to describe the symptoms, related to our brain function.

Overview of Dementia

To understand Alzheimer vs dementia, a strong understanding of dementia is necessary. Dementia can be understood as a collection of symptoms and causes that result in a decline in brain functions directly related to everyday living. The decline commonly occurs in decision making, controlling emotions as well as reasoning, and critical thinking. Dementia is not to be confused as a health condition that occurs in old age rather it occurs when damage to brain cells occurs.

There are a lot of brain diseases that result in injury to brain cells. Dementia can be caused by a lot of different diseases which we will discuss further. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common causes of dementia. Around 60-80% of people diagnosed with dementia eventually develop Alzheimer’s. It turns out, Alzheimer vs dementia is more related than being different. To get a better grip on the causes of dementia, the symptoms, and its relation to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, let’s review the different types of dementia.

Vascular Dementia:

Vascular dementia occurs when the blood supply to the brain is lowered, resulting in brain damage to that specific area. The symptoms that appear in this type of dementia always depend on which area of the brain is damaged. Getting a grasp of every type of dementia will indeed help in clearly understanding Alzheimer vs dementia.

Frontotemporal Dementia:

In this form of dementia, damage to the brain cells occurs at the front region of the brain. The damage causes behavioral changes, language problems. Later on, some people have also reported problems while comprehending and writing too.

Dementia due to Alzheimer’s:

As we mentioned earlier, dementia is a collection of symptoms that are mainly affecting areas of the brain. In Alzheimer’s disease, we see the same symptoms such as a decline in memory, understanding, and even problems in movement, eating, and speech in the late stages of the disease. In the medical community, Alzheimer’s disease is indeed listed as a type of dementia. There is a very thin silver lining in Alzheimer VS Dementia that becomes nearly vague under such instances.

Dementia with Lewy bodies:

Accumulation of a protein named α-synuclein within the brain and cortex results in dementia with Lewy bodies. This abnormal protein build-up decreases learning, memory, disturbs sleeping habits. The patient also encounters problems during movement and maintaining balance. Memory loss occurs but at a very late stage.

Mixed Dementia:

A person can get more than one type of dementia. They may develop vascular dementia while they were already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or have Frontotemporal dementia as well as vascular dementia.

Huntington’s disease:

A faulty gene inherited from one of your parents causes this dementia type. The part of the brain affected during Huntington’s disease is the central region that controls emotions, thinking abilities, and our movement. People diagnosed with Huntington’s disease have uncontrolled emotions, problems with judgment, reasoning, memory, and sloppy body movement.

So far, we have discussed the types of dementia and their probable causes. Let’s dig in a bit deep to overview Alzheimer’s disease to get a grip on Alzheimer vs dementia.

Alzheimer’s overview:

It is a neurodegenerative disease that has symptoms similar to dementia where the progression of Alzheimer’s makes the symptoms worse. The area of the brain affected in Alzheimer’s controls our learning ability. With the onset of Alzheimer’s, the first symptom to expect is having trouble processing new information. The difference between Alzheimer vs dementia becomes visible because the symptoms might be the same, yet causes the diseases to occur are different.

The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is still unknown; however, researchers have identified two proteins that develop in excess or are found deposited in the brain. The role of these two proteins is as follows:

  • Beta-amyloid: These are microscopic protein fragments that get collected over time. When solitary, these proteins do not pose a threat but they can easily make up clusters that tend to be toxic. These toxic beta-amyloid clusters are called amyloid plaques and they easily disrupt the nerve signaling activity in the brain.
  • Tau proteins: These proteins act as a transport system by providing nutrients and essentials to the neurons. In Alzheimer’s disease, the tau proteins start clustering up and form neurofibrillary tangles which eventually disrupt the nutrient supply to the neurons. Alzheimer vs dementia can be well understood when looked at the causes of both.

As the disease progresses, symptoms like confusion, behavioral changes, limited body movements, and problems in communication become evident. A common risk factor of Alzheimer’s disease is old age. However, the disease is not to be confused as a normal aging process rather a result of brain damage, especially from medical conditions occurring at an old age. In later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the affected can stop communicating, cannot eat on their own, and have a majority of their cognitive functions declined to the point of no return. Alzheimer vs dementia has subtle differences, but still, the symptoms are the same.

This severe loss of basic brain functions activates a chain of events and body changes that further deteriorates the overall health of the patient. Eating meals becomes limited, resulting in a malnourished body. A weak body is always prone to infectious diseases. All these combined factors make life challenging for the patient as well as their caretakers.

Outlook Alzheimer VS Dementia

Till now we have discussed in detail about dementia, its types, and Alzheimer’s disease to understand Alzheimer vs dementia. In summary, Dementia is a broad term used to mention neurological symptoms whereas Alzheimer’s is a disease that has symptoms similar to dementia. Alzheimer’s disease the most common type of dementia. The symptoms seen are:

  • Changes in behavior.
  • A decline in communication skills.
  • Cannot retain new information (memory loss).
  • Reasoning and critical thinking abilities deteriorate.

The symptoms of both medical conditions are more or less, the same. Yet there is a subtle difference. All people with Alzheimer’s could have dementia, but not all diagnosed with dementia can have Alzheimer’s.

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