What is Alzheimer's Disease?
Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive, degenerative disease. It causes abnormal proteins to accumulate in and around nerve cells throughout the brain, causing them to die. Loss of nerve cells results in memory loss, impaired thinking and behavior, and finally death.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease are:
- Gradual memory loss
- Decline in ability to perform routine tasks
- Impaired judgment
- Personality / behavioral changes
- Loss of language skills
The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease is made only after other illnesses that result in memory loss have been ruled out. Early diagnosis enables patients and caregivers to be given helpful information about the disease and what to expect in the future.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is the loss of intellectual functions (such as thinking, remembering and reasoning) of sufficient severity to interfere with a person’s daily functioning.
It is not a disease in itself, but rather a group of symptoms that may accompany certain diseases or physical conditions.
Some well-known diseases that produce dementia are:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Multi-infarct (stroke) dementia
- Parkinson’s Disease
Other conditions that may cause or mimic dementia include depression, brain tumors, nutritional deficiencies, head injuries, infections, drug reactions, and thyroid problems.