By Devon Jones
Often people are confused about the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life.” Alzheimer’s, on the other hand, is a type of dementia that can only be diagnosed officially during an autopsy of the brain.
In most cases, individuals with Alzheimer’s are diagnosed after other types of dementia have been ruled out.
There are primary and secondary causes of dementia.
A primary cause means that the actual condition is the cause of the dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia.
A secondary cause of dementia means that a person has a condition that may result in symptoms that cause dementia, but it is not the cause of dementia. In some cases, secondary causes can be treated to stop or reverse the effects of dementia.
So why does this matter?
According to the CDC there are about 5.8 million people with Alzheimer’s in the United States which is almost 2% of the United States population. By 2030, this number is expected to rise to 7 million Americans.
We don’t know yet how to stop Alzheimer’s from happening, but we do know some things that can help. These are things like taking medication for blood pressure or high cholesterol if it has been given to you by your doctor, exercise, eating a healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables.
At this time not much can be done to prevent primary causes of dementia. Doctors everywhere, including Dr. Jonathan Haines at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and his team have been working for more than 20 years trying to find the possible genetic causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Haines was one of the researchers involved in finding one of the genetic causes of Alzheimer’s disease, but believes that there are other causes.
Hopefully, through this research, answers will be found that can help find ways to predict, treat, prevent or cure Alzheimer’s.
To learn more about the CWRU study, call 937-760-0735 or 888-717-4319.
Enrollment is open to: families of any race/ethnicity with one or more persons living with dementia, memory loss or Alzheimer’s; African American or Puerto Rican individuals of any age who have dementia, memory loss, or Alzheimer’s disease; or individuals 60 or older who do not have memory loss; or individuals of any race or ethnicity with early onset memory loss.
Alzheimer’s Association (2019, October 28). What is Dementia? Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.
Retrieved October 28, 2021, from: https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia