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Alzheimer’s and dementia – how to distinguish between the two diseases?

Alzheimer’s and dementia… Many of us confuse dementia with Alzheimer’s because the symptoms are similar. However, Alzheimer’s cannot be equated with dementia. In this article, we’ll show you the differences between them.

Dementia is a general term for symptoms that cause problems with memory, daily functioning, and communication with others.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia.

Alzheimer's and dementia: the figure of a person who has a broken puzzle as the brain

Dementia can occur due to a variety of medical conditions, but Alzheimer’s is the primary disease.

Below are descriptions of the two diseases in more detail to show the important differences: Alzheimer’s vs dementia.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia: Symptoms and Causes.

Dementia

The symptoms of this disease can be easily overlooked because they are often mild and blame on fatigue or distraction.

Symptoms

As dementia progresses, more and more often the person forgets more and gets lost in a familiar neighborhood. As dementia worsens, the affected person has increasing problems with normal functioning and daily activities. Faces of famous people are harder to recall, and it is easier to get lost on a frequently traveled road. In the most severe stage of the disease, such a person is unable to take care of himself and needs the care of others.

The causes of dementia

Most often, dementia occurs in the elderly, so age is the main cause. The brain also ages with us, and its cells do not work as well as they do when they are young. However, dementia can also be caused by other conditions, such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s disease. Each of them causes damage to other parts of the brain cells. Dementia can also be caused by depression, vascular disease, infection (HIV), and drug and drug abuse.

Is the difference between alzheimer’s disease and dementia? These diseases have similar symptoms, but still differ from each other.

Alzheimer’s disease

It is a progressive brain disease that causes memory and cognitive loss. A person with end-stage Alzheimer’s disease is a lying person, not speaking, needing 24-hour care. She is often unconscious. The cause is unknown, and there is no cure for the disease, you can only delay severe symptoms, but they will come anyway.

Early symptoms

Young people can also develop Alzheimer’s disease, but most often the first symptoms appear after the age of 60. The first symptoms are often underestimated and blamed on exhaustion, distraction, and thoughtfulness. The first such symptom may be getting lost in a known place. Suddenly you don’t know where you are and you don’t know how to get home. Suddenly you panic, you don’t know what’s going on. The orientation returns quickly, so it is therefore downplayed. Another early symptom may be mis-positioning (e.g. you reach for a glass and miss it). If you are experiencing similar early symptoms in yourself or someone else, you may want to see your doctor. Maybe such a person will make fun of you, but it is worth making him aware that these are the early symptoms of this disease and it is worth checking it out. As we have already written, there is no cure for this disease, but early diagnosis, thanks to medications, will delay more serious symptoms that are unfortunately inevitable.

Later, more severe symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease – stages

The course of the disease can be divided into several stages, which are characterized by certain symptoms. The timing of each stage also varies from person to person, but we’ll give you an average here for a better orientation. There are also different breakdowns in the mileage. Some break them down into 3 stages, others into more, more specifically. In this article, we will divide them into 7 parts to give you a more complete picture of the course of the disease.

  • Initial stage

This stage is associated with illness in general. There is very sporadic forgetting and quick recall.

  • Stage two

Forgetting happens more often, but not often enough to cause us to worry. If a person is over 60, it is often blamed on years. If a younger person has such symptoms, they should be a warning light.

  • Mild cognitive impairment (approx. 3 years)

People at this stage increasingly ask the same questions. They forget the meaning of colloquial words more often. They have more problems with judging distance and with basic activities (e.g. getting dressed). They may be more often lost in known terrain. However, the changes are still mild and are explained by age.

  • Mild course of the disease (approx. 2 years)

Most people at this stage are already diagnosed. Daily activities (hygiene, dressing, cooking) are more difficult. They must enlist the help of others. A person in this period may have a problem with determining the date or estimating the bill amount.

  • Moderate illness (2 years)

The symptoms make life more difficult. The sick person does not know how to choose an outfit for the prevailing weather, he also has problems holding a glass or a fork. Problems with recognizing relatives and confusing names also begin. Problems with writing and reading arise. A person may show aggression, which is a kind of defense against what is happening. I can also forget my address, so it’s worth having it with you.

  • Moderately severe mileage

At this stage, the patient usually does not leave the apartment and must be looked after 24 hours a day. He cannot drink and eat by himself. He has problems sitting and swallowing. It also does not control physiological needs and speech is very limited. It does not distinguish between hot and cold water, so be careful because it can burn easily. He forgets people and events more and more.

  • Severe Alzheimer’s disease

This phase ends with the patient’s death. The symptoms get worse day by day. The sick person is mainly lying. Over time, bedsores appear, feeding is done with a probe (unable to swallow). Muscles atrophy, joint stiffness and contractures appear. The patient dies most often from pneumonia.

Summary

What is the difference between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia? Both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have similar symptoms and are very severe. They require the patience and persistence of people who care for such patients. The disease can last a long time. On average, a person with Alzheimer’s disease lives about 6 years, but there are cases that even 20 There is no cure for these diseases, but if diagnosed early, they prolong the onset of the worst symptoms.

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