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Waht is the difference between Dementia And Alzheimer's?
Posted: Thursday, December 7, 2017 3:09 PM
Joined: 6/12/2017
Posts: 12

My husband is 92 and will be 93 in a couple of weeks.  He is currently in a nursing home and I try to see him every day.  He can remember nothing longer than several minutes.  He is now in a wheelchair and has almost stopped eating.    He says he cannot eat because he has  no appetite.  They are currently giving him medicine to improve  his appetite but it doesn't look like it is working.   He has been having a bad cough and getting up lots of phelm.  They had him x-rayed and they found fluid in his lung.  They put him on a  special breathing device every once in a while but the cough and phelm persist.  He had a slight fever and he was giving meds and aspirin.  I really do not know or understand whether he has dementia or Alzheimers.  Can you have both at the same time?  I am so weary that all I want to do when I finally get home again is lay down and sleep.  It seems so unreal.  All you see on TV and in the stores are Christmas stories and pictures.  I feel so alone and sad.  I am starting to receive Christmas cards but I do not have any ambition to write any cards out.  The "Merry" is gone from my Christmas this year.
Posted: Thursday, December 7, 2017 3:24 PM
Joined: 6/12/2015
Posts: 1133

Dandee76, welcome to the message boards. You've found a good spot where you will learn a lot and get support while you are going through something very difficult. Look around on this site, read the discussion boards, call the help line. There are many resources here and lots of helpful people. It's a good place to land when the rug has been pulled out from under you.
Alzheimer's is a disease. Dementia is a symptom, and can be a symptom of many things. Head injury, frontotemporal dementia, small strokes, Alzheimer's disease, CTE and many other things can cause dementia symptoms. Fluid in a lung and fever point at pneumonia. Hopefully they will treat him for that.
You've had a lot of stress and need to take good care of yourself. You may not feel very much like celebrating holidays this season, but that's normal. Stress can exhaust all your reserves and make you feel like you just want to crawl into a hole somewhere and hibernate till spring. Hang out on this site, post on the message boards, call for counseling help. We're all here to help each other get through rough times and we can relate. 


Posted: Thursday, December 7, 2017 3:26 PM
Joined: 6/5/2014
Posts: 1155

Alzheimer's is  the most common type of dementia (about 70% of all cases), but there are others. Loss of short term memory is a defining characteristic of AD, while other types have different (yet often similar) symptoms. Thats why it's not always easy to get an  accurate dx.

So sorry for your sadness ; we  all struggle, and you are certainly not alone...we will support you.

Posted: Thursday, December 7, 2017 4:11 PM
Joined: 2/2/2014
Posts: 3819

kellly wrote:
Alzheimer's is a disease. Dementia is a symptom, and can be a symptom of many things.

Technically in living people  Alzheimer's is a syndrome and usual formal diagnosis is Dementia of the Alzheimer's type

The following definitions were adapted from the position statement of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (9):

Dementia is a clinical syndrome characterized by global cognitive decline with memory and one other area of cognition affected that interfere significantly with the person's ability to perform the tasks of daily life and meet the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition text revision (DSM-IV-TR) criteria.

Dementia resulting from Alzheimer's disease or DAT is characterized by decline primarily in cortical aspects of cognition (i.e., memory, language, praxis) and follows a characteristic time course of gradual onset and progression.

Alzheimer's disease is a specific degenerative brain disease characterized by senile plaques, neuritic tangles, and progressive loss of neurons, the presumptive cause of Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease is a post mortem pathological determination


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