Nov 30, 2019

Alzheimer's vs. Dementia

There are about fifty million people living with dementia worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are often used interchangeably, but there are differences.
Alzheimer’s disease is a specific type of dementia and is the most common. Alzheimer’s is a brain disease marked by deposits of beta-amyloid plaques and proteins called tau that damage cells in brain regions that control functions like thinking, memory, and reasoning. With Alzheimer’s, you may forget new information or find that you need to ask family members to remember important facts you should be able to remember for yourself. It is not where you cannot remember the name of your barber and then it comes to you later.

Dementia is an umbrella term for symptoms like impaired memory and thinking that interferes with daily living. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in order for a person to be diagnosed with dementia, two of the following must be “significantly impaired”: memory, communication and language, the ability to focus and pay attention, reasoning and judgment, and visual perception. A medical illness, metabolic issue (like a nutritional or thyroid problem), vascular disease (like a stroke), or infectious diseases can affect brain cells, causing dementia.
There are no FDA-approved therapies for dementia, but there are four medications that target Alzheimer’s. These drugs do not stall disease progression or cure the disease, but they can help control symptoms.

All Alzheimer's is dementia, but not all dementia is Alzheimer's. 

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