What’s the Difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s?

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Senior woman with her caregiver

Due to their numerous overlapping symptoms, many people tend to mistakenly believe that dementia and Alzheimer’s are exactly the same thing. In reality, there are a few glaringly noteworthy differences between dementia and Alzheimer’s that distinctly impact diagnoses, treatments, and medications for patients.

Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s

The main difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is that dementia is a syndrome comprised of various complex neurological disturbances, each with its own set of symptoms. Alzheimer’s falls under the category of dementia, but unlike dementia, it’s not a broad-spectrum condition with other disorders under its umbrella; rather, Alzheimer’s has its own set of distinctive symptoms.

Symptoms and Causes of Dementia

As people get older, their cognitive functions can begin to decline for a number of reasons, and this negatively affects their short-term memory as well as their ability to think logically. Sometimes, these symptoms can manifest themselves in physical ways. For instance, a person with dementia might forget to eat for long periods of time because they might think that they had a full meal more recently than they actually did and their brains don’t convey the message that they’re hungry, causing rapid and uncontrollable weight loss.

While a lot of brain functions are still a scientific mystery, there are a few known causes of dementia, or at the very least, conditions that are linked to it in one way or another. As previously mentioned, Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia, but other conditions that can lead to it include: Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Huntington’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

Dementia isn’t a disease or disorder with an exact cure. It’s actually a culmination of symptoms that can be treated in different ways depending on their perceived root causes. Sometimes, a vitamin deficiency could be the culprit and the simple solution is to increase the patient’s intake of certain vitamins that promote healthy brain functions.

Symptoms and Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease

There are several types of dementia including vascular dementia, dementia with lewy bodies, Alzheimer’s disease, or mixed dementia, which is when a patient is plagued with multiple types of dementia simultaneously. Alzheimer’s disease happens to be the most common type of dementia, typically affecting adults over the age of 65.

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease that’s caused by plaque collecting on the brain and impeding normal brain functions, such as storing new memories, making rational judgments, decision-making skills, and comprehending new information. Other symptoms include memory loss, loss of appetite, impaired speech and bodily movements, disorientation, drastic mood swings, and hostility. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are ways of managing it such as maintaining healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and keeping up with social activities. The only way to know for sure whether a person had Alzheimer’s is by conducting a brain autopsy after they’ve passed away.

If you know someone who might be suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, then it’s important that you make sure they get the proper treatment and care immediately. At Home Care Assistance – Kitchener, Waterloo, and Guelph, we take great pride in caring for our patience with the utmost respect, dignity, and compassion. We offer all kinds of care options, ranging from part-time or full-time home care depending on what the needs of our patients entail. Each one of our caregivers is thoroughly screened, and they all possess the necessary credentials to care for your loved one. To learn more about our top-quality services, please call us at (519) 954-2111.


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