While the terms "Alzheimer's disease" and "dementia" are often used interchangeably, it's important to know the difference between the two.
Alzheimer's disease is a specific disease, while dementia is a general term for a group of similar diseases, of which Alzheimer's is one. In other words, every case of Alzheimer's disease is an example of dementia, but not every type of dementia is Alzheimer's.
A diagnosis of dementia can be devastating and difficult to digest. Many people find themselves in denial, fear and the space of not knowing what to do. If you are living with or supporting someone with dementia, you are not alone. Contact us on 06 357 9539 or at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be able to offer information and support.
At Marion Kennedy Club, Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) is part of the program for members to keep their social interaction and brain activities. Alzheimers Manawatu also provides carer support groups and advice for a family member from our dementia advisors. Sharing your story and asking for help from those who have been through the same road can provide you the strength you need and advice to improve many aspects of day-to-day life.
Dementia is caused by a combination of factors rather than a single cause.
While more common in older adults, dementia is not a natural course of aging and lifestyle plays an important role. Some toxic peptides can accumulate in the body with aging, including in the brain, leading to memory impairment. Conditions like hypertension, diabetes, depression, head injury and lack of social interactions have been associated with a higher risk of developing dementia. There are some familial or genetic types of dementia where mutations in specific genes make the person very likely to develop the condition. There are also associated genetic risk factors. A genetic risk factor increases the chances but doesn’t necessarily mean that the person will develop the disease.
It’s important to note that risk factors are something that are more likely to increase the chances that a particular event will occur but having a risk factor for dementia doesn’t mean that you will ever get dementia.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for dementia, and prevention is the best approach. Lifestyle changes can improve life quality, and diet, supplementation and medication can slow the disease process. In addition, moderate physical activity and keeping the brain active are recommended.