What's The Difference Between Alzheimer's And Dementia?

What is the disease Alzheimer's?

For the uninitiated, Alzheimer's is a condition in which the patient gradually loses his or her memory. However, Alzheimer's is referred to in medical terminology as a progressive memory decline that primarily affects older people. This occurs as a result of some brain regions' neurons degeneration. It frequently leads to early senility.

What symptoms does dementia normally have?

The most prevalent type of dementia, Alzheimer's often starts with recent event memory loss and a steady deterioration in a variety of cognitive functions, eventually impairing daily living activities over time. Dementia in its early stages can show:

  • Subtle adjustments to short-term memory
  • Finding the right words is difficult
  • Changes in your mood or depression
  • Apathy
  • Having trouble finishing common (routine/familiar) jobs
  • Confusion
  • Following narratives is challenging
  • An inadequate sense of direction

What role does early diagnosis play?

Before any symptoms of Alzheimer's disease are noticeable and the disorder is diagnosed, the degenerative processes that cause it start 10 or even 20 years earlier. Therefore, a timely diagnosis is essential to properly treating the symptoms. When the cognitive symptoms first appear, it is advantageous to be able to have a precise and early diagnostic to determine whether one has Alzheimer's disease or is susceptible to developing it:

When addressing dementia's treatable causes: By effectively treating the underlying cause, temporary memory loss may occasionally be brought on by the use of psychoactive substances, vitamin deficiency, head injury, tumours, certain metabolic illnesses, hormonal disruption (thyroid), or infections.

Sooner the better: The earlier treatment is initiated, the more likely it is to be successful in treating dementia. Even though the medicine cannot stop the degeneration that has already caused neuronal damage, it does slow the process and stop additional deterioration, giving the patient a few extra months or years to live.

Diagnoses are more accurate early in the disease process: When a thorough history can be obtained early on in the disease process, a more accurate diagnosis is achievable. This can take place if the subject is able to discuss their cognitive health and voice any worries. They should also be able to recollect or witness the order in which the symptoms first arose. Unfortunately, if all brain functions are impaired, a precise diagnosis is difficult to make.

It gives you more control: Receiving a diagnosis sooner gives you more control over your finances, legal situation, and other aspects of your long-term care. They can inform their loved ones about their illness as well.

They may concentrate on what matters to them: Particularly after receiving such a serious illness, priorities in life shift. Therefore, early diagnosis aids in helping the patient reevaluate and reorder their priorities. What important, how they want to spend their time, who they want to be with, future life objectives, etc. They might decide to document significant events, finish up unfinished business, create fresh memories, and so forth.

One can make the best choices: With early diagnosis, one might make better decisions that they might have neglected out of ignorance, such as relocating far away from family, breaking up with friends, or entering into financially taxing obligations.

One may make use of the materials offered: People who receive a diagnosis early in the course of the disease process can benefit from the medical services and early-stage support groups, as well as learn tricks and techniques for better managing and coping with the disease's symptoms.

The family will benefit from it: An early diagnosis offers families more time to learn about the illness, form reasonable expectations, and make plans for the future. This can lessen stress and worry, as well as emotions of burden and regret later in the course of the illness.

It will benefit the patient as well because an early diagnosis enables the patient and family to credit cognitive changes to the illness rather than to personal shortcomings, maintaining the patient's self-esteem throughout the course of the illness

Signs to predict the onset of Alzheimer’s

An increase in anxiety symptoms may be a precursor to Alzheimer's, giving medical practitioners a better idea of whom to treat early on to prevent irreparable neurological damage from Alzheimer's.

In the preclinical stage, dementia patients who were later diagnosed frequently shared depression. The researchers discovered a stronger correlation between the pathology (beta-amyloid levels in the brain) and the person's preclinical state anxiety when particular symptoms from the same were analysed in correlation with the cellular pathology of dementia. This study did not address the relationship between it and the beginning of Alzheimer's disease later on, necessitating further long-term research to determine the existence of such a link. Since this research is still in its early stages, practical applications are also needed.

What is trait and state anxiety?

State anxiety is the term used to describe the negative emotions that one experiences in response to a particular situation, demand, item, or event. Usually, anxiety starts when a person assesses a threat in their mind. It is a transient condition since the person no longer feels anxious when the perceived dangerous object or circumstance disappears.

Trait anxiety develops in reaction to a perceived threat, much like state anxiety does, but it differs from state anxiety in terms of its strength, length, and variety of settings in which it manifests. The diversity in people's propensity to feel state anxiety in reaction to an impending threat is referred to as trait anxiety. A wider variety of events and significantly higher levels of state anxiety are

Dr. Manish Gupta
Associate Director
Department of Neurology
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