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Many people think that dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are the same thing, but, in actual fact, the terms have two different meanings. Dementia is a broad term employed to describe a variety of symptoms associated with memory decline, reasoning, judgment, and complex motor skills. If someone has symptoms of dementia, they do not necessarily have Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a chronic condition where patients exhibit symptoms of dementia that have progressed to the point of interfering with everyday activities. An Alzheimer’s sufferer may not recognize their own family members and may undergo a complete personality change. Alzheimer’s affects 60–80% of individuals with symptoms of dementia. However, there are other types of dementia:

Vascular Dementia: A decrease in memory and thinking skills caused by a blockage or reduction of blood flow to the brain, thus depriving the brain of oxygen and essential nutrients.

Lewy Body Dementia (LBD): A term that refers to dementia associated with Parkinson’s Disease and dementia  related to Lewy bodies. Lewy bodies are protein deposits that form in nerve cells in areas of the brain involved in memory, thinking, and movement.

Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD): A term covering a diverse group of rare disorders primarily affecting the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, areas associated with language, behavior, and personality.


What are the Signs of Dementia?

The following are some common signs of dementia. Keep in mind that everyone is different and not all of these indicators may be present.

  • Difficulty in coming up with the right word.
  • Challenges in completing multi-step tasks.
  • Trouble identifying time, persons, names, or places.
  • Misplacing of familiar objects.
  • Changes in personality.
  • Loss of a sense of responsibility.
  • Expressing false beliefs.
  • Errors in judgment.

Note that symptoms of dementia can be caused by a number of underlying factors such as medication side effects, substance abuse, stress, depression, thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies, and urinary tract infections. A medical professional can provide an accurate diagnosis of what is causing the symptoms of dementia.


Can Dementia be Prevented?

It’s important not to regard dementia-related illnesses as a normal part of aging. Your chances of being affected by dementia can be greatly reduced by the way you choose to live your life. Although the most significant risk factors for dementia are things you have no control over – age, family history, genetics – studies show that your lifestyle can slow or prevent the onset of dementia symptoms. Here’s what you should pay attention to.

  • Exercise – Good for your heart and your brain.
  • Sleep – Your brain needs a good night’s sleep of at least seven hours.
  • Diet – Research points to certain foods that can affect brain health.
  • Health – Get regular checkups. Maintain your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar within recommended limits.
  • Harmful substances – Do not smoke, engage in heavy drinking, or use drugs.
  • Challenge – Keep your brain alert with a daily crossword and exercises such as eating or brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand.
  • Hobbies – Don’t give up your favorite pastimes. Maybe take up new ones.
  • Stress – Try to stay relaxed and not get stressed out – yoga or meditation can help.


Where to Get Help for Dementia or Alzheimer’s in Columbia, South Carolina

Understanding the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s will help you make appropriate care-planning decisions for a loved one with symptoms of dementia. Caring Healthcare can provide tailored in-home care for your relative suffering from any dementia-related condition, including Alzheimer’s. Get in touch with us to see how we can assist you.