CogniFit's Science blog: Relationship Between Dementia And Alzheimer’s

Relationship Between Dementia And Alzheimer’s

Try one experience: set up a Google alert for the word “Alzheimer’s”. You will start receiving news about the Alzheimer's Disease on a daily basis. You'll very likely be amazed at the quantity of news, articles and websites featuring this degenerative disease every day. The importance of the Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is growing at the same pace of the growing number of cases and scientific research.

But in the general public minds, AD is still a very distant and long-term effect of aging, in some sort linked with dementia. What is then the relationship (or the difference) between dementia and the Alzheimer’s Disease?

First of all, we can define “dementia” as the general symptom, commonly associated with the important loss of memory as well as other cognitive abilities. Dementia interferes with the patient’s ability to live a normal life, and to do things previously done.

The Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common cause of dementia (ca. 50-80% of the cases). It is highly common in older people, especially over 80 years old, as the odds rise to 33%. There are other causes of dementia, but as the AD is so common it is usually confused with the general term “dementia”. The distinction between AD and other forms of dementia isn’t straightforward though and includes many aspects to be analyzed only by a doctor.

AD as a cause for dementia is a serious problem the developed world faces, and a serious problem each individual risks facing later in life. Although AD isn’t inevitable and doesn’t represent a normal effect of aging, it is however most common in older people – 95% of AD patients are over 65 years old.

Another important aspect of AD is that it is degenerative and therefore worsens as time goes by. It can start by some mild memory problems, but as the disease grows it will turn the patient totally dependent and unable to perceive outside life and past life.

Most importantly, AD doesn’t have a cure. It is however possible to fight the symptoms long in advance to minimize the chances of having it in the future, and it is possible to slow its development though. The importance of this disease means that considerable investment is being done to understand it and finally discover how to treat it. The large majority of what we currently know about AD was discovered in the past 15 years.

The good news is, the best weapon to fight AD is in everyone’s hands – it is first of all to be conscientious of the existing risks; and secondly to do a going effort in having healthy lifestyles, including nutrition and brain training. Those alone will reduce the risks by 50%. It’s already a good starting point!