The Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s
The terms dementia and Alzheimer’s are often mistakenly used fluidly to describe someone experiencing cognitive disorders which may be causing memory loss.
Dementia is a broad term used to describe many different conditions which affect the functioning of the brain. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.
Are you worried about a loved one and are perhaps becoming overwhelmed and confused by the various terms involved? Our helpful blog aims to provide clarity on both dementia and Alzheimer’s, to help you gain the support and care required.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is an overarching term for a group of conditions which affect the way the brain works. The various conditions cause brain cells to stop working correctly, which can consequently cause a person to have difficulty with memory, speech and general cognitive ability. The symptoms gradually get worse over time, and many people living with dementia will eventually require 24-hour care.
Unfortunately, dementia is still often commonly overlooked as a sign of ageing, as it is more common in elderly people, and people frequently associate memory loss with normal ageing. It is important to understand that difficulty with cognitive ability is not normal, and if you are concerned then you should seek advice from a GP to determine the cause.
What Are the Symptoms of Dementia?
The symptoms of dementia vary from person to person and can present in a variety of different ways. Symptoms can initially be quite mild but will progressively get worse.
Effects can vary depending on the underlying disease, as well as other factors, including a person’s previous base-line brain functioning, individual character and physical health.
Common early signs of dementia include memory loss, changes in the ability to communicate, confusion, mood changes and a fluctuation in emotions.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects the capability of memory, thinking and behaviour of a person. It is the most common cause of dementia, and it is believed to currently account for 60-80% of all people receiving a diagnosis of dementia.
Again, it is important to clarify that Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of ageing. Alzheimer’s is a brain disease caused by changes to chemicals in the brain, which leads to brain cells becoming permanently damaged. This results in a person experiencing increasing symptoms of dementia.
What Are the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease?
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease will vary from person to person.
- Memory lapses.
- Forgetting names of places and objects.
- Trouble thinking of the right word.
- Asking questions repetitively.
- Find decision-making hard.
- Mood changes and increases in feelings of anxiety.
- Difficulty eating and swallowing.
- Weight loss.
- Loss of speech.
- Problems with short and long-term memory.
- Increasing confusion and disorientation.
- Problems with speech or language.
If you have concerns about your loved one experiencing any of the above symptoms, then it is important to get in touch with the person’s GP, so that the right level of help and support can be provided.
Care and Support Available for Those Living with Dementia and Alzheimer’s
It can be emotional, difficult, and scary for individuals experiencing symptoms of cognitive impairment and receiving a diagnosis of dementia. There are a variety of different support options available to ensure loved ones can enjoy the best quality of life.
It is common for a person living with dementia to need full-time care and support in the later stages of their disease. Care homes have a variety of care services available to meet the needs of people with dementia which reflect the most up-to-date research,
Interested in learning more about the early signs of dementia? Avery has several helpful blogs which aim to provide clear and concise information to those wanting to understand more.