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The Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia

By Jane Noble
May 28, 2013

EVERY 70 SECONDS, SOMEONE IN THE U.S. DEVELOPS ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE

Alzheimers

Dementia is an overall term for the many diseases that cause memory loss, behavioral problems and cognitive decline due to physical changes in the brain. Of these different diseases, Alzheimer’s is the best known and currently affects 5.4 million Americans – accounting for 60 to 80 percent of cases. The disease is frequently diagnosed once other forms of dementia have been ruled out, as only an autopsy can definitively prove its presence.

There is, as of today, no known cure for Alzheimer’s – however, research on developing a cure continues. Current treatments aim to temporarily slow down the worsening effects of the disease, and to improve the quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

It is important to remember that Alzheimer’s is a disease that destroys brain cells and that patients have little to no control over their behavior.  A healthy adult brain has 100 million nerve cells, or neurons, with long branching extensions connected to each other at 100 trillion points. These connections are called synapses, and information flows through them in tiny chemical pulses. Different patterns and strengths of signals move constantly through the brain’s circuits, creating the basis of memories, thoughts and skills. In Alzheimer’s disease, this transfer of information at the synapses begins to fail, the number of synapses declines and eventually the cells die. Brains with advanced Alzheimer’s show dramatic shrinkage from cell loss.

At Amada we know that extra care, patience, understanding and specialized knowledge is needed when looking after clients who suffer from Alzheimer’s – and we use these areas of expertise to provide a more excellent care experience for our patients.

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