Sadly, roughly 5 million Americans suffer from some form of dementia. While medication and treatment have improved in recent years, various forms of dementia still plague humanity. Dr. Paul Elliott Stuart, FL, who has helped countless families deal with these grave conditions, is going to explain Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.”
“Ultimately, Alzheimer’s Disease is a specific form of dementia,” Dr. Paul Elliott Stuart, FL says. “And while it’s among the most common types of dementia, there are different forms of this condition. Basically, dementia is the top diagnosis, or category of illness, while Alzheimer’s Disease is the specific type.”
In other words, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease aren’t exactly different. Instead, Alzheimer’s Disease can be seen as a specific type of dementia. So what’s dementia? Dr. Elliott sheds light.
“Dementia refers to the general decline of mental abilities and is typically diagnosed when the decline affects someone’s ability to carry out daily life,” Dr. Paul Elliott Stuart, FL says. “Alzheimer’s is currently the leading cause of dementia in the United States, accounting for up to 80 percent of all cases.”
So why do people suffer from dementia? First, we shouldn’t treat dementia as a natural part of the aging process. While the risk of dementia typically increases with age, it’s anything but normal. Much remains to be learned about dementia. However, it appears to be related to severe damage to the brain cells.
The typical adult human brain has roughly 85 billion neurons. These neurons communicate with one another, controlling various bodily functions and allowing us to form thoughts and hold memories. When someone suffers from dementia, their ability to form thoughts and recall memories may be impeded.
“In the early stages of dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease specifically, people often struggle to recall recent events and memories,” Dr. Paul Elliott Stuart, FL says. “They may forget where they put their keys, or where they are. Genetically, chromosomes 21 and 14 appear to be linked to the disease but most cases, for now, appear to be sporadic.”
Over time, symptoms will worsen. People may struggle to form new memories at all. Further, simply walking and eating can become extremely difficult. While most people who suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease are aged 65 or older, some 200,000 people under the age of 65 suffer from the condition.
While most cases of dementia are caused by Alzheimer’s Disease, there are several other forms of dementia, including frontotemporal dementia (FTD), Lewy Bodies (DLB), and vascular dementia. DLB dementia occurs when both Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease symptoms are present. Vascular dementia is often the result of strokes.
“We don’t know as much about frontotemporal dementia as we do about Alzheimer’s unfortunately,” Dr. Paul Elliott Stuart, FL says. “Right now, most people who get frontotemporal dementia are under the age of 65, and it’s quite rare among those older than 75. We have a long way to go with dementia in general, but hopefully, we can someday eliminate these conditions or at least manage symptoms.”