Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias

Alzheimer's Disease

What is Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain and results in disorientation, with impaired memory, thinking, and judgment. People with Alzheimer's also undergo changes in their behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. This combination of these symptoms is also called dementia.

As mentioned above, Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer's, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Those with Alzheimer's live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.

Additional information is available here.

Dementia

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a gradual and progressive loss of memory, thinking and reasoning skills, as well as physical function. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia.

Dementia is a non-specific syndrome in which affected areas of brain function may be affected, such as memory, language, problem solving and attention. Dementia, unlike Alzheimer's, is not a disease in itself. When dementia appears the higher mental functions of the patient are involved initially. Eventually, in the later stages, the person may not know what day of the week, month or year it is; they may not know their surroundings, and might not be able to identify the people around them.

Dementia is significantly more common among older people. However, it can affect adults of any age.

Provider Communication

Other Causes of Dementia

  • Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
  • Vascular Dementia
  • Mixed Dementia
  • Dementia with Lewy Bodies
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Frontotemporal Dementia
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)
  • Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
  • Huntington's Disease
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

For further information about other causes of Dementia, please visit these sites: