What You Need to Know About Alzheimer's & Dementia

Since 2013, the reported number of deaths among senior citizens attributed to Alzheimer’s & other Dementia-related illnesses has continued to rise.

In fact, it has been shown within this time period that one in three seniors die due to Alzheimer's & Dementia. This is quite an alarming fact considering that other major diseases like heart disease and stroke have been on the decline amongst the same age group during the same timeframe.

No longer considered just a disease and syndrome that steals one’s memory and ability to process information, Alzheimer’s & Dementia are life-threatening conditions that rob seniors of precious experiences and time during their golden years.

What Is Alzheimer’s & Dementia

While the popular belief is that Alzheimer’s & Dementia are one and the same thing, the truth is that they have small yet distinct differences that separate them.

That being said, the two are inseparable as Alzheimer’s is a form of Dementia and the most common one at that. The term Dementia is used to cover almost any symptom resulting in loss of memory, the inability to perform daily tasks and the deterioration of communication skills.

The term Alzheimer’s, on the other hand, is more definitive in its effects and refers to the condition of memory loss among senior citizens that ends up affecting their language skills and thought patterns.

While both Alzheimer’s and Dementia are most commonly seen among senior citizens, they can in rare occurrences happen at any age. The important thing to take away here is that while the differences between the two conditions are slight at best, they are important as the proper diagnosis of either of them is important to treat and manage them successfully.

One other important factor to consider when it comes to both these conditions is that Alzheimer’s is looked upon as a progressive disease, while Dementia is categorized as a symptom due to various factors. The main one reason, of course, being advanced age.

Dementia: A Closer Look

As Dementia covers a broader range of symptoms and diseases, it might be beneficial to add a few more examples of what this term includes. As was stated earlier, Dementia covers a broad range of mental health conditions that affect memory function and overall mental ability.

While Alzheimer’s happens to be the most common form of Dementia among senior citizens (60-80% of age-related Dementia conditions among this group), Dementia also includes conditions like Vascular Dementia (caused by Stroke) and other mental-hampering symptoms caused by lack of nutrition and thyroid issues.

Alzheimer’s: A Closer Look

As Alzheimer’s also affects the memory and mental abilities of its victims, it is also considered a form of Dementia, however, it is more specific in its definition as it starts slowly and almost always gets worse as time goes on.

It should be noted here that Alzheimer’s is not just an “old-age” disease caused by advanced age as there are rare appearances in much younger individuals. Its exact causes are not quite clear at this time, but some studies have shown that lifestyle conditions and genetic factors play a major role as to the onset and advancement of Alzheimer’s.

Questions & Answers

While the above information gives a brief but detailed outline of what constitutes Alzheimer’s and Dementia, readers may still have some questions regarding the two which can be better addressed below:

Q: What are the symptoms of Dementia?

A: Dementia usually begins with bouts of minor memory impairment which continues to lead to longer episodes of confusion, erratic behavior, and long periods of forgetfulness without the aid of medical intervention. If these symptoms are left unchecked and undiagnosed, the sufferer of Dementia can become incapable of caring for themselves and will require outside care for their basic daily maintenance.

Q: What are the causes of Dementia?

A: The most common cause of Dementia is age, as brain cells tend to die off more rapidly at this time. However, as Dementia covers a broad range of mental impairments other factors leading to the onset of Dementia-related symptoms include infections, stroke, vascular disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Alzheimer's, drug use, depression and malnutrition.

Q: How is Dementia treated?

A: The treatment for Dementia really depends on the cause. For instance, Dementia caused by Alzheimer’s would require Alzheimer’s medication, treatment for Dementia caused by Parkinson’s would require Parkinson’s medication, and Dementia caused by malnutrition would include proper diet along with vitamins, minerals, and other supplements. The important thing is to first get the proper diagnosis to determine the form of Dementia before the proper treatment can be given.

Q: What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s

A: There are a variety of symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s the most common one of which is memory loss. Other major symptoms of the disease include general confusion, inability to gauge time, vision impairment, withdrawal and mood swings.

Q: What causes Alzheimer’s?

A: In general, Alzheimer’s is caused by the death of brain cells. In a person exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s the brain cells deteriorate at a much faster rate than normal. The deterioration is mostly due to a buildup of plaque in the brain cells and tangles in the nerve cells. As of right now, a common cause for these plaques and tangles occurring is not widely known among the medical community, but the strongest hypotheses so far are genetics, lifestyle factors, and malnutrition.

Q: How is Alzheimer’s treated?

A: As of now, there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s among the medical community. However, there are treatments that help to slow down the process and make life much more pleasant those suffering from the disease. These treatments include: drug therapy, quality-of-life care, and vitamin/mineral supplementation.

If you or a loved are currently experiencing any of the signs/symptoms of Dementia or Alzheimer’s listed in this article, visit your doctor immediately as they will be able to quickly and accurately diagnosis your specific condition and offer the proper treatment options in accordance with such.

Disclaimer: The articles on this website are not meant to encourage the self-management of any health or wellness issue. Nor are they meant to encourage any one type of medical treatment. Treatment or advice used by a reader may have varying results, as each individual is different. Any article reader with a health-related question, is encouraged to seek a proper consultation with a doctor or certified health provider. The articles on this website should not be used to disregard any medical or health-related advice, nor should they be the root cause for delay in seeing a doctor or a certified health provider.

The articles on this website should not be used to start the use of dietary supplements or vitamins, natural or herbal products, homeopathic medicine or other mentioned products prior to a proper consultation with a doctor or certified health provider.

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