Forgetfulness: Dementia and Alzheimer’s: course and differences
According to a study by the “German Employees Health Insurance Fund” (DAK), every second German is now afraid of contracting Alzheimer’s or dementia as they get older. But what is Alzheimer’s actually? And how is it different from dementia?
Difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s
Dementia is the generic term for clinical pictures that involve the loss of mental functions such as thinking, remembering and orientation. Alzheimer’s represents a special form of dementia. It is even the most common form, because about 60 percent of all dementias are caused by Alzheimer’s dementia.
Alzheimer’s: What happens to the nerve cells
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain organic disease characterized by the creeping death of nerve cells. In addition, the transmission stations that serve to forward and process information are destroyed. Alzheimer’s can occur before the age of 50. The higher the age of life, the more likely it is to become ill, according to the German Alzheimer Society
The course of Alzheimer’s dementia
Alzheimer’s dementia develops over several stages. The disease begins with easy forgetfulness and can change your personality greatly. The steps can overlap so that a sharp demarcation is difficult.
- In the first stage, there are no signs of dementia.
- When the disease develops, sufferers complain of first memory lapses and misplacing objects. Often they try to conceal the increasing forgetfulness or to catch it with memory aids. The symptoms can easily be mistaken for age-related symptoms.
- From the age of three, sufferers find it increasingly difficult to remember names and words. They have problems getting along at work and forget about content they’ve just read.
- At this stage forgetfulness increases greatly. Patients can not remember past events, have difficulty organizing and doing simple arithmetic tasks.
- At level five, those affected depend on everyday help. Remembering and simple arithmetic tasks are becoming more and more difficult and orientation in time and space is lost.
- If the disease progresses, then the affected person becomes a nursing case. He can no longer recognize people, needs help getting dressed and going to the toilet. The personality can change fundamentally.
- In the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease, the patient can barely interact with the environment. The control over the muscles continues to fade, so that the swallowing is difficult. The patient is now a heavy nursing case.
Alzheimer recognize in time
The development of Alzheimer’s can be slowed down with medication. Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor at the first sign of the disease. You should therefore be wary of the first symptoms, such as increased forgetfulness and initial problems in finding a word.
Nevertheless, there is also a normal forgetfulness, more pronounced in some people, less pronounced in others.This is not a concern. However, if you have long-term memory and orientation problems, you should see a doctor for reassurance.