Dementia vs. Alzheimer


The word dementia represents a collective term for different subtypes of diseases, the different impair cognitive processes in sick patients. The Alzheimer's disease is the one most common form of dementia and usually occurs only after the age of 60 on. For this reason, dementia vs. Talk about Alzheimer's, because Alzheimer's dementia is a sub-form of dementia. In addition to Alzheimer's disease, there are still many other forms of dementiawho are also already in younger patients can manifest. Dementia as a whole is becoming increasingly common in Germany due to the aging society. Estimated is almost every third German over 80 years of age is affected. All the facts about dementia vs. Alzheimer's treated.

Types of dementia

There are many different types of the dementia. Also in the heading Dementia vs. Alzheimer's is a type of dementia - Alzheimer's dementia. It is important to find out which of the forms is present in a particular patient. Sometimes lying Metabolic disorders or other organic causes that must be treated first before the dementia itself can be treated.

With the Treat the underlying cause the dementia then often improves on its own. Nowadays, imaging methods can be used to differentiate relatively well between the different types of dementia. The most common type of dementia is around 70% Alzheimer's dementia. In second place follows with about 20% Lewy body dementia. The Vascular and frontotemporal dementia are the third and fourth most common subtypes. There are also other types of dementia, but they are much rarer.

Differences dementia vs. Alzheimer

The distinction between dementia and Alzheimer's is that the Dementia is the umbrella term for various sub-forms of this disease is. The Alzheimer's dementia is the one most common form of dementia. In addition to Alzheimer's dementia, there are other types of dementia, for example Lewy body dementia, the frontotemporal dementia and the vascular dementia.


The causes of developing dementia vary widely as there are many different forms of dementia gives. So is one vascular dementia for example through many small brain attacks conditionally. Also genetic factors influence the risk of developing dementia. Other forms of dementia arise from faulty proteins, the so-called Prions. In many cases it is exact cause of dementia not clarified. The disease is probably caused by the Influence and interaction of many different factors. It is important that too hormonal causes produce dementia-like symptoms can, for example, a malfunction of the thyroid. Older people who drink too little often develop these symptoms, which regress after drinking enough fluids.


Does your mother no longer recognize you? This could be another symptom of existing dementia.

The most important and concise symptom of dementia is that Mental impairmentthat especially that Short term memory affect. Those affected often repeat what they said recently or forget where they put something.

Especially in Early stage the disease can do this Signs from the person concerned well played over so that the environment does not necessarily notice it. However, as the disease progresses, the impairments become more severe, so that the patient can no longer find the way home, for example Word finding and arithmetic difficulties suffers or at some point even his Relatives no longer recognizes.

However, in some forms of dementia, cognitive impairment is not the only symptom. Dementia can also manifest itself on a physical level - for example through the Typical gait with small steps and legs apart, incontinence and risk of falling.

People suffering from dementia contribute advanced disease often uninvolved (apathetic), neglect personal hygiene and household chores, forget to eat and drink or wander around. Some patients also suffer from Anxiety, hallucinations, and sleep disorders. Optical hallucinations are especially for the Typical Lewy body dementia. Some patients also become aggressive towards caregivers and / or relatives.

First signs

A dementia usually expresses itself through increasing forgetfulness. The difficulty is that even healthy people can forget something every now and then without being sick. However, if forgetfulness continues to grow and things happen that never happened before, it could be a Early symptom of dementia act. Typical examples include forgetting newspaper articles or book pages that you have just read, as well as pronounced word-finding disorders. Also the Loss of interest, frequent fatigue, and low mood can be harbingers of dementia. The transition to depression however, it is fluid, so that a clear differentiation must be made there.

In the further course, the finally falls orientation heavy. In the supermarket or residential area it is difficult to find your way around and you get increasingly lost. The social environment may notice one Change in personality, also sudden mood swings can occur. Since even the healthy population can show many of these symptoms at one point, it is important to clearly define what is pathological and what is not yet worrying.

Read more on the topic: Identifying dementia


To a dementia To be able to diagnose medically, it is particularly important that the patient has at least one close relatives come to the doctor. The patients themselves often do not even notice their cognitive impairment. Those close to them who have known the patient for a long time, however, can often report well on what has changed in the patient's behavior.

It is important to determine to what extent the present forgetfulness generally pathological is. Even healthy people can forget something from time to time without suffering from dementia. Imaging procedures (CT, MRI) are used to rule out disorders as the cause of the complaints that the brain affect. A Blood draw clarifies whether the patient's body functions are OK. The family doctor already has various tests available that he can carry out with a questionable dementia patient. These include, for example Mini Mental Status Test (MMST), of the Watch test and the DemTect. These ask about different abilities of the patient, for example the Retention, concentration, fluency and verbal memory.

in the Early stage dementia can do this Tests negative, however fail. you are not very sensitive to mild cognitive impairments. Due to many innovations in research and the development of modern methods, many dementias can now be diagnosed earlier in imaging. The Alzheimer's dementia shows up at an early stage, for example Decrease in brain mass in a specific area of ​​the brainon which the memory also sits. The different forms of dementia have certain characteristics that can be made visible in the imaging, for example they can be differentiated in part on the basis of different restrictions on sugar metabolism in the brain.


Some tests that are easy to perform can indicate dementia.

To a dementia Various test procedures can be used to diagnose. One example is the so-called Watch test. The patient receives a sheet of paper with an empty circle on it and is asked to make a clock out of the circle. People with dementia often make characteristic mistakes when painting the clock. Some patients write more or less than 12 numbers in the clock, position the numbers incorrectly in the circle, forget the needles or paint something completely different in the circle.

Another test is the Mini Mental Status Test (MMST). This is a compilation of various questions that should cover different competencies of the patient. It goes from spatial, temporal and personal orientation, up to Retention, concentration and arithmetic to more abstract skills such as tracing a geometric figure from a sheet of paper. For each correctly completed task, the patient receives one point, which is added at the end of the test to give a total. A maximum of 30 points can be achieved. Values ​​below 26 points are considered to be mild dementia, below 19 points it is more moderate and below 9 points it is severe dementia.

Another frequently used test is the so-called DemTect. It works similarly to the MMST. The maximum value is 18 points. From one Manifest dementia is used here with values ​​below 8 points.


Dementia vs. Alzheimer's - how is the therapy presented? The dementia can nowadays with Medication be treated. The preparations used are also called Antidementia drugs designated. You take care of that Increase in certain signal substances in the brain, which are typically lower in people with dementia. The Drug effectiveness but it is controversial. Some patients seem to benefit from it, while others do not.

That seems far more important non-drug therapy to be. This aims at the Preservation and enhancement of the patient's cognitive abilities from. Memory training, music therapy, animal-assisted therapy and adapted to the physical function of the patient Exercise therapy can with the stabilize the patient and improve his mental abilities. Many patients particularly enjoy doing things that they still remember, for example pieces of music from their youth, looking at old photos or telling stories from their own lives. Overall, there are many ways to work with people with dementia. The disease cannot be cured, you However, the course and its progression can be slowed down.


It is curable dementia not these days. Through suitable therapeutic measures, you can However, delay the course. In the Alzheimer's dementia there is always further degradation of brain matter, which is why the affected Patient on average die about ten years after diagnosis. The clinical picture of dementia, however, can express itself very differently in the patient depending on the form and severity; therefore also can no general forecast be handed in.


Not every form of dementia can be absolutely prevented before it develops. However, it turns out to be lifelong very active peoplethat too much Memory training have completed develop dementia less often in old age. This is very important physical activity. Regular physical training of 3x 30 minutes a week reduces the risk of developing dementia, by about 30%. To keep yourself mentally fit, you can read, write, do arithmetic, solve crossword puzzles, play a musical instrument or play board games. A healthy eating also helps to keep the memory function optimally. Health risk factors that are already present, such as high blood pressure, should necessarily medically adjusted become. This counteracts the development of dementia.