Many people confuse both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease for the symptoms, making it difficult to know the difference and how it can affect an individual when the two are closely related. Although they are commonly confused, there are significant traits that cause each one to differ greatly than the other and with treatment options available.
Dementia is a mental condition that affects the function of general thinking between the memory, reasoning, and even the personality or behavior of the individual. Dementia can develop due to Alzheimer’s, and affects the elderly most with five to eight percent of people over the age of 65 suffering from the condition. Over half of seniors above the age of 80 suffer from dementia, according to WebMD.com.
The most obvious symptoms of dementia can be seen with impaired judgment, change in speech, difficulty performing everyday tasks, memory loss, and changes in social behavior. Other more rare symptoms can include hallucinations, aggressive behavior, obsessive behavior, nausea, and balance.
Dementia can develop due to a number of causes, including substance abuse with both drugs and alcohol over a period of time, as well as an imbalance of hormones and vitamins. Other known causes are accredited to toxic reactions, head injuries, strokes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and even Huntington’s disease.
Although there is not a known cure to dementia as a whole, there are ways to permanently treat different types of it, including dementia that has been caused by substance abuse, metabolic disorders, tumors, low blood sugar, an underactive thyroid, and hyploglycemia.
Types of dementia that have no known cure are those caused by AIDS, multiple strokes,
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized as a mental disability that causes a various degree of symptoms, all dependent on the severity of the condition. There are different stages and degrees of the condition, slowly worsening over time and debilitating the mental capacity of an individual.
The symptoms of those who suffer with Alzheimer’s vary drastically with each person, ranging from consistently losing objects to memory loss. For those with a mild degree of Alzheimer’s, they may not experience any symptoms at all, making it difficult for a professional to diagnose the patient. In the second stage, more significant signs can be seen, with a few memory lapses here and there, as well as having a new tendency to be forgetful or lose important objects, according to alz.org.
As the condition progresses, it can be more noticeable that there’s a problem with difficulty planning events or schedules, as well as feeling challenged when trying to stay organized. This often increases to an inability to perform daily tasks that were once easy, and being unable to count backwards or succeed at basic mental exercises.
The most severe cases of Alzheimer’s disease is likely to require a caregiver as the individual will not be able to maintain proper hygiene or care for themselves. They will find it difficult to feed themselves or even get dressed in the morning, with changes in sleep patterns and a habit of becoming lost in familiar environments.
Alzheimer’s begins when brain cells begin to lose their connection due to degeneration, dying off gradually and making it difficult for the brain to operate in its original state. The causes of this cell loss is still vague, but is assumed to be caused by hereditary factors, as well as the environment and lifestyle of the individual.
Currently, there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but the side effects can be suppressed with proper medication. Prescribed medication can improve memory loss and also work as a sleep aid, according to MayoClinic.com.
Although both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have similar symptoms between memory loss and difficulty performing everyday tasks, the severity of each differs greatly, making it important to receive a diagnosis for proper treatment and dementia care of the individual. Although various forms of dementia can be treated, Alzheimer’s disease is untreatable.
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