Are Alzheimer’s and dementia the same thing?
Senior Couple Using Tablet Computer At Outdoor Café
No, however they are related.

What is dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term and refers to loss of cognitive ability.  It affects an individual’s ability to use reasoning, logic, abstract thinking and memory.  It is not a disease, but refers to a group of symptoms.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease (or AD) is a progressive, terminal disease that spans over a 5–20 year period.  Individuals continue to lose skills and abilities as time marches on.  It affects one’s short term memory, language, mobility and logic.

What is senile dementia?

This is an outdated term that was used a number of years ago.  Since then, scientists have been able to be more specific about the various types of dementia.

What types of dementia are there?

Alzheimer’s Disease, Early On-set or Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease, Vascular Dementia, Mixed Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Frontotemporal Degeneration (Multiple variants), TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), Down Syndrome, CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy),  Huntington’s Disease,  Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus and Korsakoff Syndrome.

If one of my parents has AD, will I get it?

Not necessarily.  People may have a genetic strain that will put them more at risk for contracting the disease.  If there are multiple members of your family who have the disease, or multiple generations who have had the disease, your chances of contracting it are increased. However less than 1% of those with Alzheimer’s disease have the gene that causes the disease.

Is AD a mental illness?

No.  It is medical condition, not considered to be a mental illness.

What are the 10 warning signs identified by the Alzheimer’s Association?

  • Memory loss that affects daily life in a negative way
  • Problems with planning and solving problems
  • Unable to complete tasks at home or at work
  • Confusion with time or location
  • Visual signs and perceptions are affected
  • Difficulty finding words and participating in conversations
  • Misplacing items and unable to retrace steps
  • Decreased judgment and poor decision making skills
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Personality changes and mood swings

Can dementia be reversed?

Yes, some forms of dementia can be, if caught early enough and treated properly.  For example, if someone is experiencing malnutrition and/or dehydration and showing signs of dementia, the dementia may be reversed if either is caught early enough and the individual begins to consume appropriate food and drink regularly.

Can Alzheimer’s disease be reversed?

No, it can’t be reversed.  Once brain cells have died, they can’t regenerate themselves…the damage is done.  Researchers are currently (8.2019) working with some medicines in clinical trials that seem to be slowing down the disease or reversing it to some degree.  However, these meds are not available on the open market.

Is there a cure for Alzheimer’s disease?

No, there is no cure for AD.

What are some of the risks that might cause dementia or Alzheimer’s disease?

There are a number of risks that apply – age, smoking, alcohol abuse, family history, head trauma, genetics and cross interactions of medications.  Additionally we look at gender, inappropriate diet, obesity, falls, cardiovascular illness, Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and sleep apnea.

Can medications slow down the disease process?            

Medications mask the disease process and assist in managing behaviors, but rarely slow sown the progression of the disease.  Most medications work well for people who are in the early to middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Is this behavior unique to my Mom?                                                   

The answer would be no, no matter what the behavior might be.  People may have similar behaviors but their types of dementia may vary.

Why does Dad repeat himself over and over?

We find patients have repetitive speech and behavioral patterns.  This stands to reason as their short term memory bank doesn’t allow them to register that they have already asked the question previously.

What causes Alzheimer’s disease?

There is a sticky material, similar to the plaque we find on our teeth or in our arteries, that blocks and destroys the nerve cells and their neuropathways.  We find “tangles” inside the cell and “amyloid plaque” that forms between the neuropathways or chokes the neuropathways so the nerve impulses can not be transmitted from the brain to another portion of the body.

Do more women or men have Alzheimer’s?

Yes as women live longer then men.  There is also a theory that the female hormones might play a role in protecting women longer than a man.

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