Often dementia and Alzheimer’s are used interchangeably, where people confuse each as a single brain disorder. However, there are substantial differences between the two. Both the diseases mainly have old age victims though.
About 1 in 100 people in the age range of 60-64 suffer from Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This number swells to 6 in 100 people for the age bracket of 75-59. The same number jumps to 30 out of 100 people for those who develop Alzheimer’s disease in the age bracket of 90-94.
Some patients tend to be young as well. Approximately young 200,000 people suffer from early onset dementia or young onset dementia. However, it is significant to tell the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Here are five key pointers that will help you pick the cognitive conditions apart:
- Dementia Is A Disease and Alzheimer’s Is Its Type
Dementia is a neurodegenerative disorder that culminates in cognitive decline. There are several types of dementia including vascular dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is also a type of dementia that affects 60-80% of the patients. It is probably due to this large incidence rate of Alzheimer’s that it is confused with dementia.
- Both Alzheimer’s and Dementia Are Caused For Different Reasons
Dementia occurs for several reasons, with each type surfacing for different reasons. For example, vascular dementia is caused due to impaired blood flow to the brain. On the other hand, Alzheimer’s disease is caused due to reasons that are still unknown.
- The Onset Symptoms Vary In Both The Cases
Dementia occurs as brain cells are damaged, which leads to cognitive decline. Several conditions can cause brain damage including degenerative diseases such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Each of these causes affects a different brain part, therefore, they show different symptoms. However, the most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss. This occurs because the damage to brain tissues starts before symptoms show up. In simple, the onset of symptoms occurs much later in AD.
- Varying Lifespans of the Patients
The lifespan of both the patients of both these mental disorders varies. In reversible cases of dementia, lifespan is not a matter of concerns. The type of dementia, patient age, and health determine the life expectancy of the patients.
Several studies highlight that the patients live up to ten years as the average lifetime. However, they can go up to 26 years from the day it is diagnosed. Whereas, Alzheimer’s does not have a cure yet so lifespan is a concern. Patients of Alzheimer’s have a shorter life expectancy of 8-10 year after diagnosis.
- Difference Of Treatment Plans
Both dementia and AD are treated differently. The treatment for dementia depends on its type. It is planned once the culprit is highlighted, after which a treatment plan is chalked out.
On the other hand, Alzheimer’s disease is a terminal illness without a cure. Medications can only help to slow the progress of the symptoms such as depression, anxiety, restlessness, and behavioral changes among other effects.