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Taking care of seniors with memory and brain disorders can be quite strenuous. But understanding the distinctions between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and the early symptoms may make the task less stressful.
Dementia is a more general term used to describe a type of brain disorder that affects normal communication and ability to perform daily activities. On the other hand, Alzheimer’s disease is a specific kind of dementia that affects the parts of the brain that control memory, thought and speech.
Here is a brief description of the two medical conditions, their early signs and symptoms, forms of treatment and some of the main differences between them.
What Is Dementia?
Dementia is more of a syndrome than a single disease. A syndrome is a collection of symptoms that do not have a single diagnosis. Dementia may be defined as a collection of symptoms and conditions that hinder normal mental, cognitive tasks like reasoning and memory. One of the most prominent conditions included in dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Dementia
The early signs and symptoms of dementia can be rather mild, and they usually begin with forgetfulness. People suffering from dementia easily lose track of time, and they can get lost in places they know quite well.
As time goes on, the forgetfulness and confusion increase such that it gets more difficult to remember people’s faces and names. At this point, personal care becomes rather difficult. Some of the obvious signs that a person needs in-home dementia care include poor hygiene, irrational decision making and repetitive questioning.
Methods of Treatment
Dementia symptoms usually respond to treatment when they are caused by metabolic disorders, tumors, drugs, and hypoglycemia. It is important to note that only a few forms of this condition are reversible. But with the right type of medication, it can be managed effectively.
Physicians sometimes recommend cholinesterase inhibitors when dementia is caused by LBD, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s. Also, people living with dementia may need home care assistance and caregiver services. A home health agency or senior care service facility may offer more effective care to the patient.
What Is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that progressively reduces the ability to use the memory and other cognitive functions. The brain of anyone with Alzheimer’s has abnormal deposits of protein that create tangles and plaque. This causes cell connections to get lost, and they start to die gradually.
Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
The early symptoms of this disease include:
- Difficulty recalling conversations or events that occurred recently
- Poor judgment
- Behavioral changes
Methods of Treatment
Although there is no permanent cure for this condition, the following methods may be adopted by a physician:
- Medications for memory loss such as cholinesterase inhibitors, donepezil, rivastigmine and memantine
- Medications to improve sleep
- Alternative remedies to improve brain function and overall health like fish oil and coconut oil
- Medications for depression
What Is the Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s?
Dementia is classified as a syndrome, a group of symptoms that stop the brain from performing its normal cognitive and memory functions. It could be caused by a variety of problems, and the symptoms are not always fully understood.
Alzheimer’s disease, on the other hand, is a type of dementia that has symptoms whose causes are properly understood.
Some forms of dementia caused by drug interactions and nutritional problems may be reversed. However, Alzheimer’s disease cannot be reversed by treatment or medication.
Prevention of Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Making the following lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of dementia:
- Decrease stress and anxiety
- Do regular exercises like brisk walking, swimming and dancing
- Learn a foreign language to enhance cognitive functions of the brain
- Drink raw vegetable and fruit juices
- Supplement your diet with vitamin K which has anti-aging properties
- Meditate more often to increase the protective tissue in the brain
Contact Our Home Health Care Agency Today
At Active Home Care, we offer compassionate in-home dementia care and professional Alzheimer’s care for seniors. We understand the stressful situation and challenges that you and loved ones face due to dementia. For immediate home care assistance and senior care services, please give us a call now at 786-360-3449. We provide quality and skillful care in Miami and the surrounding areas, including: Surfside, Aventura, Coral Gables, Miami Beach, North Miami, Bal Harbour, Cutler Bay, Pinecrest, North Miami Beach, Sunny Isles Beach, Key Biscayne and all of South Florida.