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Is there a there difference between senile dementia and Alzheimer's?

Around 47.5 million people in the world suffer from dementia and 7.7 million new cases are registered each year, according to data collected by the WHO. It´s clear that both senile dementia and Alzheimer's are common conditions in the world population and that they are two of the main causes of disability and dependency among the world's elderly.

Both Alzheimer's and senile dementia are conditions that fall under the umbrella term “dementia” but their characteristics, causes and symptoms have key differences, that´s why we speak about them as different conditions or diseases and why it is important to know more about them and be able to differentiate between them. Below, we discuss the main differences and the behaviours that can help you detect or prevent both diseases..

Differences between Senile Dementia and Alzheimer's

Both senile dementia and Alzheimer's are classified as neurological pathologies. Both are characterised by being irreversible and degenerative, since memory, intellect, behavior and the ability to carry out activities of daily life are impaired progressively.

Senile dementia can be described as the deterioration of a person's mental capacities, so that the behavioural or knowledge functions have been damaged. Alzheimer's is considered a variant of senile dementia, but with the key difference that it degenerates until it causes death in the most serious cases. Currently, both diseases have no cure, but in the case of Alzheimer's, its symptoms can be controlled with treatments and drugs prescribed by a specialist.

The causes that can lead to these diseases are unknown, especially in the case of Alzheimer's. However the passage of time, the consequences of a tumor, degenerative diseases or drug use, are recognized as causes of senile dementia.It should be noted that the deterioration of cognitive functions can be accompanied by issues relating to emotional control, social and personal behaviour.

Habits to prevent dementia

Currently there is no known 100% effective way to prevent dementia, but by following certain behaviours or habits it is possible to reduce the risk of suffering from these conditions and while improving cognitive function. Some of them are everyday activities and are easy to implement:

  • Avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Regularly doing sport contributes to safeguarding the memory. Activities in which attention is a core element have been particularly identified as helpful. Sports such as walking or dancing also help improve brain health and prevent the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

  • Stimulate the mind. Taking time to enjoy reading will help develop your cognitive abilities. You can also do other hobbies or pastimes or even games that challenge your memory.

  • Control your diet. Including vegetables, fish and eggs in your diet will be a plus for your brain. These foods protect neurons from chemicals that damage your cells.


Remember, taking care of yourself today prepares you for a better future.

This article originally appeared in Spanish on the ASISA Blog.It is translated and reproduced here with permission.

Read more about Age in Spain´s partnership with ASISA here.

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