What is the difference between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia?
“Dementia” is a time period that has changed a more out-of-date phrase, “senility,” to confer with cognitive adjustments with advanced age. Dementia features a group of signs, essentially the most distinguished of which is memory problem with extra issues in at the very least one different space of cognitive functioning, together with language, consideration, drawback solving, spatial abilities, judgment or planning. These cognitive issues are a noticeable change in comparison with the particular person’s cognitive functioning earlier in life and are extreme sufficient to get in the way in which of regular day by day residing, corresponding to social and occupational actions. All dementia is not Alzheimer’s disease.
An excellent analogy to the time period dementia is “fever.” Fever refers to an elevated temperature, indicating that an individual is sick. But it doesn’t give any details about what’s inflicting the illness. In the similar manner, dementia signifies that there’s something incorrect with an individual’s brain, nevertheless it doesn’t present any details about what’s inflicting the reminiscence or cognitive difficulties. Dementia will not be a illness; it’s the clinical presentation or signs of a illness.
There are many doable causes of dementia. Some causes are reversible, corresponding to certain thyroid circumstances or vitamin deficiencies. If these underlying issues are recognized and handled, then the dementia reverses and the particular person can return to regular functioning.
However, most causes of dementia usually are not reversible. Rather, they’re degenerative illnesses of the brain that worsen over time. The most widespread explanation for dementia is AD (Alzheimer’s disease), accounting for as many as 70-80% of all circumstances of dementia.
Approximately 5.3 million Americans at present dwell with Alzheimer’s disease. As folks become old, the prevalence of AD will increase, with roughly 50% of folks age 85 and older having the illness.
It is vital to notice, nonetheless, that though AD is extraordinarily frequent in later years of life, it’s not a part of regular growing old. For that matter, dementia will not be a part of regular growing old. If somebody has dementia (due to no matter underlying trigger), it represents an vital drawback in want of acceptable prognosis and therapy by a well-trained healthcare provider who focuses on degenerative illnesses.
In a nutshell, dementia is a symptom, and Alzheimer’s disease is the reason for the symptom.
When somebody is informed they’ve dementia, it signifies that they have vital memory issues in addition to different cognitive difficulties, and that these issues are extreme sufficient to get in the way in which of every day residing.
Most of the time, dementia is attributable to the particular brain illness, AD. However, some unusual degenerative causes of dementia embody vascular dementia (additionally known as multi-infarct dementia), frontotemporal dementia, Lewy Body disease, and persistent traumatic encephalopathy.
Contrary to what some folks might imagine, dementia will not be a much less extreme drawback, with AD being a more extreme drawback. There will not be a continuum with dementia on one facet and AD on the excessive. Rather, there may be early or gentle phases of AD, which then progress to reasonable and extreme phases of the illness.
One purpose for the confusion about dementia and AD is that it’s not doable to diagnose AD with 100% accuracy whereas somebody is alive. Rather, AD can solely actually be identified after demise, upon post-mortem when the brain tissue is fastidiously examined by a specialised physician known as a neuropathologist.
During life, a affected person may be identified with “possible AD.” This time period is utilized by doctors and researchers to point that, based mostly on the particular person’s signs, the course of the signs, and the outcomes of varied assessments, it is rather seemingly that the particular person will present pathological features of AD when the brain tissue is examined following loss of life.