alzheimers and dementia

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by LYNDA WINN, Aug 8, 2006.


    LYNDA WINN Registered User

    Aug 8, 2006
    manchester, uk
    My father has had a stroke and is now suffering from virtually no short term memory. When I go on line to find out about Alzheimers and/ Dementia, I get the impression that they are the same illness. Is this the case or are they different illnesses.:confused:
  2. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Hi LYNDA WINN and welcome to TP.

    I saw a very good explanation the other day that Dementia is a symptom, and Alzheimer's, Vascular, etc are all illnesses that present with the symptom of dementia - and other symptoms as well.

    I'd always thought that dementia is a general term that encompasses Alzheimers et al, and there is no harm in that.

    But I like the idea of dementia as a symptom rather than an illness. It seems to make sense.
  3. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    "Dementia as a symptom".......I can go with that.

    This 'illness', which seems to encompass so many things, I was told by the consultant, was an umberella, under which many, many variations were displayed.

    For many years I have used the term "dementia" to describe Lionel's condition, which seems to encompass Alzheimer's, vascular dementia, and Lewy Body.

    I like "dementia" as a symptom............describes our situation perfectly.

  4. dmc

    dmc Registered User

    Mar 13, 2006
    hi lynda winn

    the consultant hasnt got a "name" for my mothers condition only thats its rare so i suppose dementia best describes what she has, for me anyway.
    it is a symptom but of what ive no idea:confused:
  5. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Well, dementia is described as a loss of intellectual functions. It's a group of symptoms but not a disease in and of itself, while Alzheimer's is a disease that causes dementia. My Mother has the the same symptoms as you fatehr for the same reasons (stroke, and no short term memory) and that's often called vascular dementia. However, many people with Vascular dementia have had mini-stokes, rather than a specific major stroke. So no, if your father has had a stroke he hasn't got alzheimer's (well, not on the face of it - he could of course have both).

  6. mumof3

    mumof3 Registered User

    Feb 6, 2006
    We were told that my MIL had vascular dementia. I did see her that her notes during her recent hospital stay showed cerebrovascular disease and dementia as two seperate diagnosed illnesses though.
  7. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    I thought dementia was a group of symptoms, but then it was given as the cause of my mother's death.

    LYNDA WINN Registered User

    Aug 8, 2006
    manchester, uk

    Dear All
    thankyou for your replies regarding the difference between dementia and alzhehe imers. I am still somewhat confused but thankyou all for trying to put my mind at rest.
    I am having a few days break from caring for my parents at the moment, as my younger sister has taken them home to Colchester with her for a week. The hardest thingf of all regarding trying to help my Dad is that he doesn't think he is ill. He is very confused about the stroke, and as far as he is concerned he is just suffering from memory loss. He doesn't understand why he can't be left on his own or why he can't go out on his own. As my mum is also losing her memory, she quite often forgets and leaves him on his own or sends him to the local shops by himself. She looks on the help that we are offering as interferring and taking away their independence. She says she can cope and she is strong -p yet she forgets that she is on the phone to me or knocking on my brothers door (he lives next door to them) every day, crying and upset at what Dad has done. They won't accept any help from social services, Dad won't go to the day care centre, we have all sorts of persuasion, even to saying that the doctor says he must go for as it is a form of physio, but no matter what we say he refuses to go and on the couple of occcasions he has gone he has got confrontational. Any suggestions would be greatfully appreciated. All the best to everyone Lynda
  9. Helena

    Helena Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    Oh how I relate to the "i am not ill scenario " "theres nothing wrong with me" its the rest of the world thats mad

    Something within them seems to cocoon them from the truth
    Hence they tell all manner of lies , get crazy ideas and so it goes on

    My Mother having pulled the door locks apart last weekend is still adamant that they are broken .........despite me spending hours putting them back together , ensuring they worked and proving it

    Its harder on carers than the patients
  10. bel

    bel Registered User

    Apr 26, 2006
    confused about what sort of dementia

    dear lynda
    i feel for you and can understand your confusion i am still learning i did not realise probably like your self there is so many types of dementia all hard to sort out more awarenes is needed which TP are trying to do either way it is hard and my heart goes out to you as i am sure all TP members would agree
    Love BEL X
  11. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    #11 Margarita, Aug 12, 2006
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2006
    I also was very confused what it all meant.

    Why when they did the brain scan just label it Alzheimer's

    Over the years wanting to know why my mum got Alzeimer's which is just a name of a man who discovered it.

    I have work out that my mum always had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, uncontrolled Diabetes with medication so all this contributed to stopping oxygen flowing to the brain. My mother never smoke or drank so

    Lucky mum heart was not affected as then mum would have had what they call VD (or Mix) and you can not have medication for it.

    your dad barin is Affected from the stroke so they call it VD and so he can not take medication for AD because of damage to his brain from the stroke(hart)

    Therefore, it is all Dementia symptoms. leading up to what they call Alzheimer’s My mum just went state to AD because she had no heart problems your dad is just building up to it Alzheimer’s which is just a death of the brain cells.

    With your dad the damage from the heart to the brain has given your dad got V dementia first so maybe they call it mix VD, AD because VD all ends up with AD
  12. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    I'm sorry Margarita, but I'm afraid that some of the information contained in your post is simply inaccurate. Specifically, while it is true that (in the UK) they do not treat VD with same sort of drugs that are used for AD that has more to do with what is seen as inadequate testing on other sorts of patients and cost saving. These drugs are being used in other parts to the world with some degree of sucess. Further Alzheimers isn't simply dementia that has progressed to a particularly point - there is a specific type of "tangle" that infiltrates the brain that causes the death of brain cells. I cannot state strongly enough that that while the symptoms are similar, because brain cell death occurs, the two diseases are distinctly different, althought they can, of course, occur in the same person, as you point out. From a practical point of view, this can mean little or a lot. Little, because management of dementia is related to the symptoms being experienced, however caused. A lot, because while AD is progressive, stroke related dementia may not be, particularly in an individual where the damage has been caused by a specific stroke event. In the latter case, theoretically, no more strokes would mean no more damage. Obviously, it's not so easy to avoid strokes, but there are various therapies (e.g. anti-coagulants) available.

  13. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    jenniferpa thank-you for posting that makes it sound more clearer to me .
  14. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    #14 Margarita, Aug 12, 2006
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2006
    I read this on the Alzheimer's site

    So then even one stroke can damage the oxygen suppy to the brain and the damage has been done so they have VD .

    Just that my father had a stroke few years later another stroke during the time in-between stroke he was showing sigh of dementia.

    Just that I thought that in those days that one stroke does not affect the brain, but it did as I have read from the AZ site.

    Sorry if I drive you all crazy ,but to me it sounds like Dementia is entwined with Alzheimer's disease just my point of View .

    • Alzheimer's disease Become confused, and frequently forget the names of people, places, appointments and recent events.
    • Experience mood swings. They may feel sad or angry. They may feel scared and frustrated by their increasing memory loss.
    • Become more withdrawn due either to a loss of confidence or to communication problems.

    Alzheimer's disease, first described by the German neurologist Alois Alzheimer, is a physical disease affecting the brain. During the course of the disease 'plaques' and 'tangles' develop in the structure of the brain, leading to the death of brain cells.

    • VD Loss of memory - for example, forgetting the way home from the shops, or being unable to remember names and places.
    • Mood changes - particularly as parts of the brain that control emotion are affected by disease. People with dementia may also feel sad, frightened or angry about what is happening to them.
    • Communication problems - a decline in the ability to talk, read and write.

    The term 'dementia' is used to describe the symptoms that occur when the brain is affected by specific diseases and conditions. These include Alzheimer's disease and stroke.

    Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms will gradually get worse. How fast dementia progresses depends on the individual. Each person is unique and will experience dementia in their own way.
  15. Splat88

    Splat88 Registered User

    Jul 13, 2005
    Hmm, MIL has never actually been diagnosed to the extent mentioned, apart from the MMSE, she refused to have any scans etc.
    She takes Aricept, and I was under the impression that Alzheimers could only be actually diagnosed post mortem. The Mental Health team have never referred to it as anything other than short term memory loss.
    Is there any difference in the treatment of varying dementias?
  16. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    All the more reason for having post mortems, if the family consents.
  17. Sandy

    Sandy Registered User

    Mar 23, 2005
    Aricept for Vascular Dementia

    Below is a link to a news report on the US Alzheimer's Assosciation web site about the most recent trials of Aricept (donepezil) for the treatment of vascular dementia.

    It seems to show that this trial resulted in higher than expected mortality rates for those taking Aricept compared with the placebo group. But this was not the case in earlier trials, or when the data from all the trials are taken together.

    This story dates from March 2006 and seems to indicate that the role for Aricept in the safe treatment of vascular dementia has not yet been established by clinical trials.

    Take care,

  18. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    As is often the case, a choice between Quality of life as opposed to the prolonging of 'life' (continued breathing) at all costs.
  19. jasperty

    jasperty Registered User

    Jul 24, 2006
    West Midlands
    Mom has vascular dimentia

    My Mom has recently been diagnosed with VD, the last week she has been alot better after taking antibiotics for a very bad cough. Have had to take her for a chest x-ray, also visited the doctor at the hospital who sent her for the CT scan while she was in hospital for broken hip, he put her on something to thin her blood and folic acid. We were told that there is no licensed drug for VD. I do tend to fall into a false sense of security when she is having a few good days, and then I start to dread the phone ringing.

    She still gets confused, and the other day asked me to explain why she was confused. I told her she had memory loss, and she is 83 this happens to older people and quickly changed the subject.

    I am still waiting for social services to assess her, some three weeks now.
    Mom lives on her own in a ground floor retirement apartment, comes to me three times a week.

    I do find talking point helpful and feel I am not on my own so much.

    Hope everyone has a better day tomorrow.

  20. dmc

    dmc Registered User

    Mar 13, 2006
    hello pat

    its so bad you have to wait so long to get assessed lets hope for you and your mum it wont take much longer.

    glad your finding talking point helpfull, its been a breath of fresh air to me to be able to talk to people who understand exactly what im going through i have good friends but they dont really understand, and to be honest untill i found TP i didnt really understand anything either.
    look forward to getting to know you more
    take care x

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