Dementia and Alzheimer’s: Know the Difference

The terms Alzheimer’s and dementia are often used interchangeably. While these conditions have definite similarities, there are a few unique characteristics that set them apart. Right Aid Home Care shines a spotlight on the top four differences between Alzheimer’s and dementia.

1. Classifications

Alzheimer’s is often listed as a disease, while dementia is considered a syndrome, or a group of medical symptoms that are present together at the same time. In fact, dementia can actually be a result of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, there is only one form of Alzheimer’s, but dementia can come in many forms. It is even possible to suffer from two or more types of dementia (a condition known as mixed dementia).

2. Symptoms

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia may seem similar, but they can vary greatly depending on the affected individual. Both conditions can lead to communication issues, memory loss, and disordered thought processes, but Alzheimer’s has been known to cause disorientation, confusion, behavioral shifts, apathy, depression, and the inability to recall recent events. While some forms of dementia can also present these symptoms, they will usually include other signs that will lead to an accurate diagnosis.

3. Causes

Scientists have not decided on one single cause of Alzheimer’s disease, but there are many known sources of dementia. The syndrome can result from illnesses like Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, posterior cortical atrophy, normal pressure hydrocephalus, and Huntington’s disease. According to WHO, Alzheimer’s is a leading cause of dementia and is responsible for anywhere from 60 – 70% of cases.

4. Treatment Options

The treatment options for Alzheimer’s and dementia can vary depending on an individual’s diagnosis. There is no established cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but many medications can help alleviate the symptoms. Prescription drugs like Aricept and Exelon may reduce the extent of memory loss, while several varieties of antipsychotics can lessen the effects of behavioral changes. It may also be beneficial for affected individuals to take medications for depression or sleep problems.

By contrast, certain forms of dementia have root causes that can be directly addressed in order to control a patient’s symptoms. If you or your loved one has dementia caused by hypoglycemia, drugs, a tumor, or a metabolic disorder, medications can assist in controlling the syndrome’s development. Neither dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can be cured completely, but it is entirely possible to manage one’s condition with the right level of care.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care in Philadelphia

If you or your loved one is suffering from a memory disorder, our caring staff at Right Aid Home Care can provide Alzheimer’s care and dementia care that is customized to meet your unique needs. Our caregivers are certified home health aides with years of experience looking after seniors with various health conditions.

Contact Right Aid Home Care

Right Aid Home Care is committed to providing the best quality of home care for individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and more. Contact us today or visit our website for more information about our home care services or to find a location near you in Pennsylvania and Delaware.