Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s Disease Essay
When I first think about Dementia and Alzheimer’s, I typically think that these terms relate more to the elderly. What really is the difference between the two? According to our text, dementia is a permanent loss of mental ability that is serious enough to impair daily living tasks. People who have one of the many conditions that produce dementia experience problems in memory, reasoning, and planning that dramatically affect their behavior. Alzheimer’s disease is a mild cognitive impairment which with time will progress into Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia is a word for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. It is not a specific disease. People with dementia may not be able to think well enough to do normal activities, such as getting dressed or eating. They may lose their ability to solve problems or control their emotions. Their personalities may change. They may become agitated or see things that are not there. Memory loss is a common symptom of dementia.
However, memory loss by itself does not mean you have dementia.
People with dementia have serious problems with two or more brain functions, such as memory and language. Many different diseases can cause dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. Drugs are available to treat some of these diseases. While these drugs cannot cure dementia or repair brain damage, they may improve symptoms or slow down the disease. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) begins slowly. It first involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language. People with AD may have trouble remembering things that happened recently or names of people they know.
Over time, symptoms get worse. People may not recognize family members or have trouble speaking, reading or writing. They may forget how to brush their teeth or comb their hair. Later on, they may become anxious or aggressive, or wander away from home. Eventually, they need total care. This can cause great stress for family members who must care for them. AD usually begins after age 60. The risk goes up as you get older. Your risk is also higher if a family member has had the disease. No treatment can stop the disease.
However, some drugs may help keep symptoms from getting worse for a limited time. Dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases are perhaps two of the most confusing diseases that exist in the realm of mental degradation in America today. There are a number of differences, however, that allow for those dealing with symptoms characteristic of these two diseases to become more informed. When comparing dementia vs. Alzheimer’s disease it is very important to discuss the differences between the two diseases.
Although they have many similarities, there are a number of differences that must be noted. Alzheimer’s disease is defined as a form of dementia characterized by the gradual loss of several important mental functions. It is perhaps the most common cause of dementia in older Americans, and goes beyond just normal forgetfulness, such as losing your car keys or forgetting where you parked. Signs of Alzheimer’s disease include memory loss that is much more severe and more serious, such as forgetting the names of your children or perhaps where you’ve lived for the last decade or two.
Another way to compare dementia vs. Alzheimer’s disease is to realize that dementia is a medical term used to describe a number of conditions characterized by the gradual loss of intellectual function. Certain symptoms, as defined by the American Medical Association, of dementia include memory impairment, increased language difficulties, decreased motor skills, failure to recognized or identify objects, and disturbance of the ability to plan or think abstractly.
Yet another way to determine the differences of dementia vs. Alzheimer’s disease is when the onset of the disease was first noticed. Of course, this is a very difficult thing since the progression of both is very gradual, and often there is no one point where someone can say, “Aha! ” and know that the disease has taken hold. Often the onset of Alzheimer’s can occur as early as 45 years of age. General dementia, however, usually is noted later in life, perhaps in the 70 to 80 year range.