Are Alzheimer’s and Dementia the same?

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Are Alzheimer’s and Dementia the same disease?

No, Alzheimer’s and Dementia are not the same. Rather, Alzheimer’s disease causes symptoms of Dementia as it progresses.

This definition of Dementia is taken from the Web/MD

Dementia is the loss of mental functions — such as thinking, memory, and reasoning — that is severe enough to interfere with a person’s daily functioning. Dementia is not a disease itself, but rather a group of symptoms that are caused by various diseases or conditions. Symptoms can also include changes in personality, mood, and behavior. In some cases, the dementia can be treated and cured because the cause is treatable. Alzheimer’s disease causes 50%-60% of all Dementias, but researchers have found two nervous diseases which were originally diagnosed as Alzheimer’s.

 

For this reason, a visit with your doctor is imperative if you have any symptoms that you believe to be Alzheimers. Some cases of Dementia that are unrelated to Alzheimer’s and they are curable.  Only a physician can make a complete examination, eliminating any medical or pshychological causes for the symptoms. All other medical conditions will be eliminated before a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

If a person shows several of the following symptoms, they may need to be evaluated by a physician:

  • Learning and retaining new information– forgetting recent events and appointments or misplacing objects frequently
  • Handling complex tasks, like balancing their checkbook or bill paying
  • Know what to do or how to respond when problems arise– such as what to do if the bathroom is flooded, or heater won’t come on in the winter
  • Using good judgment– disregard good social conduct and act imprudently or say things that are inappropriate
  • Finding their way around familiar places– getting lost when walking or driving in areas that are normally very familiar to them, or only a few blocks from their home
  • Finding the right words to say what they want to say
  • Understanding and responding appropriately to what they hear
  • Acting more irritable or suspicious than usual, or withdrawing from conversations or activity that they previously enjoyed

There are a few Verbal and Written tests that can be given to check for mental or reasoning decline. They can not prove a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s but may give notification that further testing need be done.

One of the simpler tests is the Clock test. I have that test listed here –> The Clock Test

There is also a simple word test listed here –> Simple Word Test

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What If It’s Not Alzheimer’s?: A Caregiver’s Guide to Dementia (Updated & Revised)Check PriceThe Alzheimer’s Action Plan: What You Need to Know–and What You Can Do–about Memory Problems, from Prevention to Early Intervention and CareCheck PriceThe Other Side of Alzheimer’s: What Happens to You When Your Spouse Has Alzheimer’sCheck PriceLoving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and GriefCheck Price

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Comments

  1. says

    It would be easier to show the difference by saying that all alzheimer’s is dementia, but not all dementias are Alzheimer’s.. there is increasing differentiation between the dementias now, with Lewy Body Dementia becoming much more widely spoken of than most others.

    However, the dementia picture is also skewed by the fact that, while Alzheimer’s is always the most spoken of dementia, in fact it is as much as 50 percent erroneously diagnosed.

    A 2011 report on the forensice brain auptopsy study from the VA in Honolulu, showed that of 411 people diagnosed in life with Alzheimer’s disease, 50 percent of that number had no plaques and tangles — originally considered the marker for Alzheimer’s, even though they are now also noted in people with Parkinson’s and those with Lewy Body dementia. So, they are apparently NOT a marker for Alzheimer’s, after all — sorry Dr Alzheimer.

    That study also showed that of the half with no plaques or tangle, 25 percent of that half actually had perfectly healthy brains with no signs of anything having been wrong.

    Perhaps, therefore, that would suggest the dementia in those people had causes elsewhere in the body.

    So, our whole view of Alzheimer’s is becoming much more unclear, especially as 40 years of research has produced not merely not a cure, but scarcely a helping agent at all..

    Depressed? Don’t be. There isn”t a more researched disease in the world right now, so meanwhile let us all learn how to interact with and understand the needs and communication styles of those with dementia. That helps more than any trial drugs and brings joy to caregivers too — try it, you may like the experienceof learning how to be close with those who have dementia.

    • ~ Sandy says

      Frena Gray-Davidson always brings a breathe of freshness and truth that I overlook. You are so right Frena, through all the symptoms and diagnosis and conjecture about Alzheimer’s the most important thing is, as you say: “…let us all learn how to interact with and understand the needs and communication styles of those with dementia.”

      Frena Gray-Davidson ia author of “Speaking Dementia.” She has lived and worked with people with dementia for over 20 years. She is a best selling author and is internationally recognized for her care giver training workshops. In this book she shares new ways of how to listen to find your loved one who is still the person within. The book is both compassionate and practical, filled with solutions to the everyday problems faced by caregivers and family.

  2. says

    Dementia is a catch-all term for lots of conditions that cause loss of mental capacity, with Alzheimer’s being one of those specific conditions. In simple terms, “Alzheimer’s” is to “dementia” as “football” is to “sports.”

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