Is Dementia the same as Alzheimer’s? – It is very common nowadays to hear someone say, ” my mother has dementia, ” my father has Alzheimer’s, ” or even ” my husband is with such a German .”
Although “dementia” and “Alzheimer’s disease” share the same symptoms, the two names do not mean the same condition.
The dementia is a syndrome, ie, a set of symptoms that occurs consistently, and with respect to cognition changes – loss of memory, problems with language and thinking, difficulty solving problems, disorientation in time and in space. It is not a specific disease.
When someone is diagnosed with dementia, this is done based on the symptoms presented, without actually knowing what is causing such symptoms. In Alzheimer’s disease, the exact cause of the symptoms is understood.
Many things can cause manifestations characteristic of dementia, such as vitamin B12 deficiency or thyroid function, a blood clot, bruising. In these cases, the person returns to normal life after the specific treatment. These are called “reversible dementias.”
However, in “Alzheimer’s type dementia” or “dementia in Alzheimer’s disease”, the most common and most prevalent of all dementias, the symptoms install insidiously and family members do not always notice the presence of early signs. The probable diagnosis is made through the collection of clinical history, the application of screening and neuropsychological tests, the evaluation of neuroimaging tests and the exclusion of other dementias. Because it is a neurodegenerative and progressive disease, the symptoms are becoming more accentuated along its course. Therefore, it is an irreversible disease.
In Alzheimer’s disease, cognition is slowly getting hampered. Little memory laps appear. There is forgetfulness for recent events (forget what you ate at lunch, for example), but the memory for events of the past remains good (it perfectly resembles stories and facts from childhood). In addition to the memory disorders, symptoms of geographic and temporal disorientation begin to appear (they leave the house to go to the supermarket to shop and on the way they get lost, they do not know which street they are in or where their home is), difficulties to plan, solving problems or completing household, leisure or work tasks, confusing people and identifying known people. They tell the same story, several times. They can no longer control their bank account. And with the advancement of the disease, the motor part is also compromised.