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What is the difference between dementia and alzheimer’s disease?

What is the difference between alzheimer’s disease and dementia? Dementia is a group of symptoms characterized by impairment in at least two or more domains of cognitive function such as loss of memory or judgment. Dementia is a clinical syndrome that can result from many different diseases including huntington’s disease, parkinson’s disease, alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injury.  It can be chronic for years or even be lifelong. An individual’s brain cells become damaged which results in dementia. This impairment can affect the daily function of a person’s lifestyle. Symptoms can include forgetfulness, limited social skills and thinking abilities. Every day tasks like cooking, driving, and shopping become harder and harder until they can be impossible.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is responsible for about 50 to 70 percent of all cases of dementia. It is a much faster progressing disease than dementia. The brain becomes damaged before an individual realizes they are even developing the disease. There are approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 that have early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.  When someone is first diagnosed with alzheimer’s disease, they may have a very mild memory loss. The disease eventually progresses to the point an individual is unable to carry on conversation or respond to events in his or her environment.

The cause and cure of alzheimer’s disease is still something doctors are trying to determine. While you or your loved one still has the mental capacity to do so, it is important to take the time to prepare estate planning documents. Whether we are young or old, having the right documents can give us peace of mind. Completing estate planning documents takes the burden of having to make tough decisions off of our loved ones. It also helps assure that our wishes will be honored.

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