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Dementia vs. Alzheimer's


Posted on February 2, 2009 by DementiaGuide

Dementia vs. Alzheimer's

Dementia: It's not always Alzheimer's

Many people are under the impression that dementia and Alzheimer's are one-in-the-same, but this is not the case. What is the difference between the two? When disussing dementia vs. Alzheimer's disease it is very important to discuss the differences between the two terms.

Dementia is a medical term used to describe a number of conditions characterized by the gradual loss of intellectual functions.

Dementia is a neurological disorder that affects your ability to think, speak, reason, remember and move. While Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, many other conditions also can cause similar symptoms.

Dementia vs. Alzheimer's / Comparing the Two Terms

Dementia is a large category of neurodegenerative conditions that affect the brain. It includes: Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, frontal temporal dementia dementia pugilistica (boxer's, or repeated traumatic, dementia), and alcoholic dementia, as well as a few other rare conditions. Memory loss, problems with processing information, and impaired executive and planning functions are prominent signs of dementia. The term "senility" is a term that is not used today. The problem with this word is that it conveys the idea that dementia is an inevitable concomitant of aging. While aging is the key risk factor for dementia, it is not the direct cause.

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 people, 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.

When looking at dementia vs. Alzheimer's disease, one type of dementia is often confused with Alzheimer's disease. Multi-Infarct Dementia (MID) is a common cause of dementia in the elderly and occurs when blood clots block small blood vessels in the brain and destroy brain tissue. Symptoms of MID, which are very similar to Alzheimer's disease, include confusion, problems with short term memory, wandering and getting lost in familiar places, loss of bladder and bowel control, and emotional problems such as laughing or crying during inappropriate times.

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