What is dementia?
Dementia is a syndrome, not a disease. A syndrome is a group of symptoms that doesn’t have a definitive diagnosis. Dementia is a group of symptoms that affects mental cognitive tasks such as memory and reasoning. Dementia is an umbrella term that Alzheimer’s disease can fall under. It can occur due to a variety of conditions, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s disease.
People can have more than one type of dementia. This is known as mixed dementia. Often, people with mixed dementia have multiple conditions that may contribute to dementia. A diagnosis of mixed dementia can only be confirmed in an autopsy. Dementia is a decline in cognitive function.
Dementia may affect:
As dementia progresses, it can have a huge impact on the ability to function independently. It’s a major cause of disability for older adults and places an emotional and financial burden on families and caregivers.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. It begins slowly and gets worse over time.
Currently, it has no cure. Alzheimer’s is a 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 Alzheimer’s, the symptoms generally begin after age 60. With Alzheimer’s disease, someone will experience a decline their abilities to:
- Speak, or Find words
- Problem solve
- Express themselves
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s include impaired thought, impaired speech, and confusion. Doctors use a variety of screenings to determine the cause of dementia including blood tests, mental status evaluations, and brain scans.
Alzheimer’s vs. Dementia symptoms:
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia can overlap, but there can be some differences.
Both conditions can cause:
- A decline in the ability to think
- Memory impairment
- Communication impairment
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s include:
- Difficulty remembering recent events or conversations
- Impaired judgment
- 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 (LBD), for example, has many of the same later symptoms as Alzheimer’s. However, people with LBD but are more likely to experience initial symptoms such as visual hallucinations, difficulties with balance, and sleep disturbances.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia treatment:
Although there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s. Treatment and Prevention can slow each stage of the disease. The goal of treatment is to manage mental function and behavior and slow the symptoms down. People with Alzheimer’s and Dementia can also benefit from Care home London and other caregivers.