The difference between Dementia and Alzheimer's

What is Dementia?

With about 850,000 people now living with dementia in the UK, there is still some confusion as to what dementia is; with most people believing it is the inevitable part of ageing, which it is not.
 
Dementia is a term used to describe a group of symptoms which occur when some cells in the brain stop working or are damaged by certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
 
Typical symptoms include loss of memory, difficulty with language, thinking or problem solving. Dementia affects people differently depending on which part of the brain has been affected or which disease caused it.
 
Most Common Causes of Dementia
 
Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia; accounting for about 500,000 or two thirds of cases in older people in the UK. Due to Alzheimer’s Disease being the most common cause, it has become the most well-known. This has led people to become more familiar with the term Alzheimer’s than they do with dementia. Thus, people confuse the two as either the same thing or entirely separate conditions.
 
Alzheimer’s develops slowly over the years starting with symptoms such as forgetfulness. The symptoms vary from person to person, and they can often be very subtle sometimes overlapping with other illnesses. Typical symptoms of Alzheimer’s are forgetting names, faces, places, dates and time or getting lost. It can also affect a person’s mood; they can become less interested, irritable or lose confidence.
 
Vascular Dementia
Affecting about 150,000 people in the UK, Vascular Dementia is the second most common cause of dementia. This occurs when brain cells get starved of oxygen, due to reduced blood supply because of damaged or blocked blood vessels. When the cells die, this can cause problems with cognition (memory, thinking or reasoning). Major risk factors are; a major stroke or smaller strokes over time and Small Vessel Disease which occurs deep in the brain.
 
Mixed Dementia
Some people will have a mixture of symptoms discussed above. It is possible for someone to have both Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. This accounts to about 10% of dementia cases.
 
Frontotemporal dementia
As the name suggest this one is caused by death to cells in the front and side parts of the brain. It is the third most common type of dementia. It affects a person’s personality and behaviour. Depending on the damage to the brain, one might have difficulty speaking fluently or may forget the meaning of some words.
 
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)
This is caused by a presence of proteins called Lewy bodies in nerve cells. They have been linked to low levels of chemical messengers as well loss of connection to nerve cells. It is still not understood how these proteins trigger dementia and it is believed to be under diagnosed as it shares some symptoms with conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Typical symptoms are problems with movement and mental abilities.

The above are just the most common; there are others which are triggered by other conditions such as HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s Disease.
 
Our Service at Bluebird Care North Tyneside
Having an understanding about dementia, causes or symptoms is an important part of the care we provide our customers. We know that life doesn’t end with a dementia diagnosis. At Bluebird Care North Tyneside, we continually provide dementia training and updates to all of our care assistants; so we can help our customers get the support they need, and can tailor our service to their exact needs so they continue leading full and independent lives.
 
Visit our Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care page for more information about our service or give our friendly team a call on 0191 5009751.

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