On the occasion of World Alzheimer’s Day, we would like to raise awareness on the condition. As many people are not aware of the difference, the terms are interchangeable. Learn about the key distinctions between the disorders and avoid confusing both. It is possible to have a form of dementia, which is unrelated to Alzheimer’s, according to healthline.
Definitions of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
The National Institute of Ageing suggests that:
Dementia is a type of neurological disorder of the brain, which affects everyday activities and functions. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it affects about 47.5 million people, globally.
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects thinking, memory, language and behaviour. Generally, the symptoms begin after the age of 60, although the time period from initial diagnosis to death can be as little as three among patients over 80 years old.
Both these disorders can occur among younger populations, however, the risks tend to increase as you age.
Difference between Symptoms of Both Conditions
It is possible to have more than one type of dementia, which is known as mixed dementia. It is a syndrome with a group of symptoms. You can think of dementia as an umbrella, within which Alzheimer’s falls under. Mixed dementia can only be diagnosed through an autopsy. Brain cells undergo damage in the case of dementia. Each type of dementia can cause damage to different types of brain cells. Some other causes of dementia include, stroke, depression, chronic drug usage, HIV or vascular diseases. Treatments for the syndrome depend on the type of dementia, alleviating their symptoms. Currently most types of dementia are irreversible, although research has also shown some types are reversible.
In Alzheimer’s disease, just like other degenerative neurological diseases, brain cells are damage. Symptoms can start appearing many years after brain damage occurs. Connections between the brain cells are lost, causing their death. The brains of Alzheimer’s patients can also contain deposits of protein, known as tangles or plaques. Over the years, the brain shrinks to a large extent. This disorder is terminal in nature, currently without any cure. As a result, after diagnosis the estimated-lifespan maybe anywhere from 4 to 8 years, although there have been cases of survival up to 20 years.