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Are Alzheimer’s and Dementia the same?

Posted Jun 29 2010 6:54am

No, Alzheimer’s and Dementia are not the same disease. Rather, Alzheimer’s disease causes symptoms of Dementia as it progresses.

This definition of Dementia is taken from the Web/MD website.

Dementia is the loss of mental functions such as thinking, memory, and reasoning that is severe enough to interfere with a person’s daily functioning. Dementia is not a disease itself, but rather a group of symptoms that are caused by various diseases or conditions. Symptoms can also include changes in personality, mood, and behavior. In some cases, the dementia can be treated and cured because the cause is treatable. Alzheimer’s disease causes 50%-60% of all Dementias, but researchers have found two nervous diseases which were originally diagnosed as Alzheimer’s.

For this reason, a visit with your doctor is imperative if you have any symptoms that you believe to be Alzheimers. Some cases of Dementia that are unrelated to Alzheimer’s are curable.  Only a physician can make a complete examination, eliminating any medical or pshychological causes for the symptoms. All other medical conditions will be eliminated before a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

If a person shows several of the following symptoms, they may need to be evaluated by a physician:

  • Learning and retaining new information– forgetting recent events and appointments or misplacing objects frequently
  • Handling complex tasks, like balancing their checkbook or bill paying
  • Know what to do or how to respond when problems arise– such as what to do if the bathroom is flooded, or heater won’t come on in the winter
  • Using good judgment– disregard good social conduct and act imprudently or say things that are inappropriate
  • Finding their way around familiar places– getting lost when walking or driving in areas that are normally very familiar to them, or only a few blocks from their home
  • Finding the right words to say what they want to say
  • Understanding and responding appropriately to what they hear
  • Acting more irritable or suspicious than usual, or withdrawing from conversations or activity that they previously enjoyed
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