Differences between Alzheimer’s and Senile Dementia

Mainly, Alzheimer’s disease and senile dementia are two pathologies that are usually associated with age, since they usually appear in elderly people. These pathologies usually present similar signs and symptoms, so they are often confused. However, they are totally different diseases that can appear in people not only of advanced age but also in younger ones.

In this aspect, in this article we will point out the characteristic details of Alzheimer’s disease and senile dementia, in order to present the differences that exist between them.

Alzheimer’s disease

Fundamentally, Alzheimer’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible and degenerative neurological disease that appears because the patient’s neurons die progressively, so that different areas of the brain are atrophied by this action. This can appear at an early age but in most cases it occurs in people over 65 years of age.

When a person suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, their life expectancy is approximately 10 years, since neurological degeneration is associated with the general functional degeneration of the patient. Thus, this occurs in three successive stages, in which visible symptoms of the patient’s deterioration appear, among which we can mention:

  • In the early stages of the disease: the symptoms are those that affect memory and concentration, which makes it difficult to diagnose the disease in patients over 65 years of age, since they can be associated with age-related disorders .
  • In the intermediate stage: symptoms include inability to perform daily habits, changes in mood or behavior and loss of interest in their hobbies, so they begin to practice a sedentary and apathetic life, as well as difficulty in orienting themselves in places you regularly visit.
  • In the advanced stage: we can see the loss of the ability to feed and speak, loss of memory completely, loss of basic functions such as walking and sphincter control and depressive and irritable attitude.

It should be noted that, despite the fact that there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, it is possible to delay some of its symptoms or reduce some of the discomfort associated with the disease, especially at the level of mood. For this reason, some patients are treated with tranquilizers and antidepressants, with which a certain improvement in the cognitive function of the brain is achieved.

Senile dementia

Basically, senile dementia is not a specific disease but a syndrome or condition associated with the person‘s age and that affects memory, thinking and social skills so severely that they interfere with the person’s daily functioning . Therefore, it is a degenerative and irreversible condition whose main characteristic is the loss of the person‘s mental capacity, where the functions of behavior or knowledge have been impaired.

The causes of senile dementia are varied, so some diseases that can cause it are Parkinson’s disease, Pick’s disease, Down syndrome, some tumors or vascular dementia. It is important to point out that, in cases of young people with this disease, we do not speak of senile dementia but simply dementia.

Currently, there is no treatment for senile dementia, but some of its symptoms can be treated and even completely cured, such as infections and immune system disorders, nutritional deficiencies or metabolic problems, and endocrine disorders, which may occur due to the person‘s inability to eating properly, lack of mobility and sedentary lifestyle, among others.

Finally, despite the fact that senile dementia progressively deteriorates the patient, it is not associated with death, so there are no implications for the life expectancy of the person diagnosed with senile dementia.

Once the relevant characteristics and definitions have been presented, the differences between Alzheimer’s disease and senile dementia are:

  • Alzheimer’s disease is a disease that develops progressively in a patient, causing mental and physical deterioration of the person while senile dementia is not a disease but a syndrome that presents a deterioration of a person’s mental abilities.
  • The life expectancy of a patient with Alzheimer’s is reduced to approximately 10 years while the life expectancy of a patient with senile dementia is not altered.
  • The causes of the appearance of Alzheimer’s disease are unknown, while the causes of the appearance of senile dementia are varied, most of them appear when the person has suffered from other diseases for a certain time, such as Parkinson’s disease or Pick’s disease.

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