There is a difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Most people use these two terms interchangeably.  In reality they are different things.  Dementia is a group of symptoms in which Alzheimer’s is one of the diseases that can be part of Dementia.  Below is a very rudimentary discussion of the two terms.

Dementia. Dementia is the loss of thinking, memory, and reasoning skills to such an extent that it seriously affects a person’s ability to carry out daily activities.

Dementia can occur at any age, though is most likely after 60.  It is easily overlooked and can develop into a devastating event in one’s life.  Early signs of Dementia can include forgetfulness, losing track of time, unable to follow directions, or losing their way in a familiar setting.  This does not mean that an occasional lapse of memory is the onset of Dementia.  Some memory loss may be perfectly normal in the aging process and may be treatable.  In testing it has been found that healthy older people may increase in some areas such as vocabulary.

Alzheimer’s, Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain’s nerve cells, or neurons, resulting in loss of memory, thinking and language skills, and behavioral changes.

Alzheimer’s is caused from the body producing plaques that attach to the nerve cell endings in the brain which causes them to ultimately die.  This will eventually grow and damage larger areas in the brain.  Scientist is unsure what causes these plaques to form.  Alzheimer’s is the most common form of Dementia.  Alzheimer’s is not a normal form of aging and at this time has no cure, although there are treatments that may slow the advancement.

It is important to understand which problem that you or your loved one may be dealing with.  Even though Alzheimer’s is the largest contributor to Dementia in those over 65, it is important to get a correct diagnosis.  Dementia is a group of symptoms and could have more than one cause and sometimes could be very treatable, though not curable.  It cannot be stressed enough that it is extremely important to recognize the signs early and get a proper diagnosis.  The worst thing that can be done is to ignore the symptoms and delay being properly diagnosed or to refuse to accept the diagnosis.

Below are some valuable resources that may help you to find more information concerning Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/forgetfulness

http://www.alzfdn.org/AboutAlzheimers/definition.html

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