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What Is The Difference Between Parkinson’s Disease And Alzheimer’s Disease

Parkinsons Dementia Vs Alzheimers Dementia

What Is The Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease And Dementia?

According to experts, Parkinsons dementia can cause impaired physical activity and impacts motor skills. Two neurotransmitters called dopamine and serotonin tend to be damaged by Parkinsons.

In addition to causing issues with movement and coordination, this form of dementia can also cause a slower thought process and memory problems. This is usually less pronounced however, until the later stages of the disease.

With Alzheimers, two types of proteins in the brain, tangles and plaques , accumulate and kill brain cells. This Alzheimers-induced dementia affects memory, clear thinking, language skills, and orientation. It reduces comprehension, learning capacity, and judgement. Storing new information and memory retrieval are impacted more than motor skills.

Distinguishing between these neurodegenerative conditions is important to determine the best treatment approach. Medications for one of condition might create problems when given to a patient with the other condition.

How Is Parkinsons Disease Dementia Diagnosed

No single test can diagnose Parkinsons disease dementia. Instead, doctors rely on a series or combination of tests and indicators.

Your neurologist will likely diagnose you with Parkinsons and then track your progression. They may monitor you for signs of dementia. As you get older, your risk for Parkinsons dementia increases.

Your doctor is more likely to conduct regular testing to monitor your cognitive functions, memory recall, and mental health.

What Is Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease was named by James Parkinson nearly 100 years before Dr. Alois Alzheimer described the type of dementia called Alzheimer’s disease .

This disease was colloquially referred to as the “shaking palsy” by James Parkinson. It is diagnosed in people who exhibit at least two of these three symptoms: slowed movements , muscle rigidity, and tremor even at rest.

Other recognized associated signs of Parkinson’s Disease includes having an expressionless face, difficulty swallowing, cramped handwriting, trouble getting out of a chair, and a shuffling gait. Many of the symptoms are a result of nerve cell death in those that produce dopamine.

In addition to movement-related symptoms, Parkinson’s symptoms may be non-motor. Examples of non-motor symptoms include indifference, depression, constipation, sleep disorders, loss of the ability to smell, and cognitive impairment.

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Caring For Someone With Parkinsons

Practice patience and understanding when dealing with Parkinsons. You may be very frustrated and challenged as a caregiver, but those with Parkinsons are just as frustrated. Their physical and mental conditions can be debilitating, depressing, and humiliating.

Diet and nutrition can have a huge impact on the health and comfort of a Parkinson patient. Eating well, getting more rest, sleeping well, fresh air, and exercise can make a difference. Getting the right medication and complementary therapies is also important.

As Parkinsons impacts a patients motor skills, modifications to the living environment may have to be made to accommodate wheelchairs and limited mobility issues. Professional in-home assistance for Parkinsons can allow Parkinson patients to remain independent and can enhance quality of life.

Most importantly, seek help and support from family, friends, and caregiving support groups. Take advantage of the resources in your community. Shouldering all the burden can take a toll on a caregiver.

Take care of yourself or you wont be able to take care of your loved one. Follow the preventive advice provided above for yourself as well, and take deep breaths!

Resources

Key Difference Parkinsons Vs Huntingtons Disease

Differences Between Dementia & Alzheimer

The key difference between Parkinsons and Huntingtons disease is that Parkinson disease is a disorder with rigidity, tremors, slowing of movements, postural instability and gait disturbances usually occurring in old age due to degeneration of the substantia nigra of the midbrain while Huntingtons disease is a familial neurodegenerative disorder usually occurring in a younger population, characterized by emotional problems, loss of thinking ability and abnormal choreiform  movements .

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How Are They Alike

MS and Parkinsonâs both affect your central nervous system, which includes your brain and spinal cord. Thatâs why they both can affect how you move, sleep, feel, and talk.

These diseases both affect your nerves. MS can break down the coating, called myelin, that surrounds and protects your nerves. In Parkinsonâs, nerve cells in a part of your brain slowly die off.

Both can start out with mild symptoms, but they get worse over time.

Common symptoms of both diseases include:

  • Shaky fingers, hands, lips, or limbs
  • Slurred speech thatâs hard for others to understand
  • Numb or weak limbs that make your walk unsteady
  • Loss of muscle control that often affects one side of your body at first, then later both
  • Spastic limb movements that are hard to control
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Poor balance

Depression is another symptom common to both conditions.

What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinson Disease

Parkinson disease symptoms usually start out mild, and then progressively get much worse. The first signs are often so subtle that many people don’t seek medical attention at first. These are common symptoms of Parkinson disease:

  • Tremors that affect the face and jaw, legs, arms, and hands
  • Slow, stiff walking

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The Pathologies Are Different But Many Of The Symptoms Can Be Similar

We do know that the pathology is quite different between Parkinsons and dementia, said Dr. Odinachi Oguh, a neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. But the processes in which memory is impacted in both diseases is about the same.

From the pathology standpoint, both diseases are characterized by a neurodegenerative process, Oguh said. The neurodegeneration results in abnormal accumulation of protein, which builds up and becomes toxic to the brain.

Alzheimers, for example, affects memory areas of the brain, which include the temporal lobes, as well as the memory center, or hippocampus. Parkinsons, meanwhile, starts in the basal ganglia part of the brain, and as the disease progresses, it can also affect the memory center, resulting in forgetfulness, an early sign of Alzheimers or other forms of dementia.

How Is Age Related To Pdd

The differentiation between Lewy body and Parkinson’s disease dementia

Both PD and PDD are more common with increasing age. Most people with PD start having movement symptoms between ages 50 and 85, although some people have shown signs earlier. Up to 80% of people with PD eventually develop dementia. The average time from onset of movement problems to the development of dementia is about 10 years.

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Cause Signs And Symptoms Treatment And Management Age Of Onset Of Parkinsons And Huntingtons Disease:

Cause:

Parkinsons Disease: PD is caused by the degeneration of the neurons in Substantia nigra of the midbrain.

Huntingtons Disease: HD is caused by the mutations in the HTT gene.

Age of Onset:

Parkinsons Disease: PD usually occurs after the age of 50.

Huntingtons Disease: HD usually occurs in the thirties or forties.

Symptoms:

Parkinsons Disease: PD causes tremors, rigidity, slowing of movements and gait disturbances.

Huntingtons Disease: HD causes higher function abnormalities such as problems in thinking and reasoning together with characteristic chorea.

Treatment:

Parkinsons Disease: PD is treated with dopamine-enhancing drugs such as levodopa, dopamine agonists, etc.

Huntingtons Disease: HD has no curative treatment and main the treatment is supportive.

Life expediency:

Parkinsons Disease: PD doesnt have an effect on life expectancy. However, it reduces the quality of life.

Huntingtons Disease: HD patients live 15-20 years after the appearance of the first symptom.

Is The Dementia Caused By Parkinsons Or Something Else

Indications that dementia may be caused by something other than Parkinsons disease include agitation, delusions , and language difficulties. If the onset of cognitive symptoms is sudden, theyre more likely due to something other than Parkinsons diseaseeven reversible causes such as infection, a vitamin B12 deficiency, or an underactive thyroid gland.

Depression can mimic dementia by causing similar symptoms such as apathy, memory problems, and concentration difficulties. Since depression is very common in Parkinsons patients, its important to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression in older adults.

Parkinsons disease dementia vs. other dementias

Other types of dementia that can be commonly mistaken for Parkinsons disease dementia include:

Lewy Body Dementia is characterized by fluctuations in alertness and attention, recurrent visual hallucinations, and Parkinsonian motor symptoms like rigidity and the loss of spontaneous movement. In this disorder, cognitive problems such as hallucinations tend to occur much earlier in the course of the disease and often precede difficulties with walking and motor control.

Alzheimers disease and Parkinsons disease are both common in the elderly, especially in those over 85. Patients with Parkinsons who develop dementia may even develop Alzheimers dementia as well. Therefore, its important to be aware of the signs of Alzheimers Disease and how its treated.

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Keep Your Mind Or Body

If you are wondering which is worse between Alzheimers and Parkinsons, one must decide whether you prefer to lose control of your mind or your body. Parkinsons disease is marked by the loss of control of the body.

Alzheimers affects the brain and progressively gets worse. You can read about the 7 stages of Alzheimers here.

Parkinsons patients will have symptoms like muscle rigidity, body tremors, slowed movements and shuffled walking. Its mostly the body that is affected. Parkinsons patients only have mild cognitive disabilities. On the other hand, the symptoms of Alzheimers are like memory loss, struggling to recall words and forgetting to do otherwise simple tasks like driving.

A Parkinsons patient may have their memory intact but have a problem walking straight or moving their body. An Alzheimers patient loses both their cognitive function and ability to do anything for their own. When you look at it from this perspective, then Alzheimers is usually considered worse off than Parkinsons.

But really, there should be no awful competition between the two conditions because both are known to be incurable and eventually lead to death. They also present some similarities in symptoms and they are both degenerative conditions.

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What Causes Parkinsons Disease Dementia

What is the difference between Alzheimers and Dementia ...

A chemical messenger in the brain called dopamine helps control and coordinate muscle movement. Over time, Parkinsons disease destroys the nerve cells that make dopamine.

Without this chemical messenger, the nerve cells cant properly relay instructions to the body. This causes a loss of muscle function and coordination. Researchers dont know why these brain cells disappear.

Parkinsons disease also causes dramatic changes in a part of your brain that controls movement.

Those with Parkinsons disease often experience motor symptoms as a preliminary sign of the condition. Tremors are one of the most common first symptoms of Parkinsons disease.

As the disease progresses and spreads in your brain, it can affect the parts of your brain responsible for mental functions, memory, and judgment.

Over time, your brain may not be able to use these areas as efficiently as it once did. As a result, you may begin experiencing symptoms of Parkinsons disease dementia.

You have an increased risk of developing Parkinsons disease dementia if:

  • youre a person with a penis
  • youre older

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Parkinson Vs Alzheimer Dementia: A Clinical Sign

The finger displacement sign is a simple bedside test that can help distinguish Parkinson dementia from Alzheimer dementia.

Aman Deep, MD, a neurology resident at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, presented an interesting poster at AAN 2018,1 which illustrates a clinical sign that helps distinguish Parkinson disease dementia from Alzheimer dementia.

Deep and colleagues examined 56 patients with Parkinson disease dementia and 35 with Alzheimer disease dementia . The mean onset of dementia was 3.1 years in the PDD group and 3.9 years in the Alzheimer group. The mean Mini-Mental State Examination score was 24 in the PDD group and 17.8 in the ADD group.

The finger displacement test required patients to point both of their index fingers at a ruler for 15 seconds, then maintain that position for an additional 15 seconds with their eyes closed. The amount of downward drift was measured.

Among the PDD patients, 53/56 had bilateral downward drift of their finger of at least 5 cm. Only 3 had <5 cm of drift. The mean downward finger drift of the PDD patients was 6.8 cm.

Among the ADD patients, only one patient had mild downward drift, and none of the patients had downward drift of more than 5 cm.

Overall, the finger displacement test has a sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 92.1% in distinguishing patients with Parkinson dementia from Alzheimer dementia.

Mental Health Concerns In Advanced Parkinsons Disease

Today we continue Parkinsons Disease: Planning for the What Ifs, a special series of posts to address both motor and non-motor issues of people with advanced Parkinsons disease . We are defining advanced PD as those who are no longer independent in their activities of daily living, and require help for their self-care such as eating, bathing, dressing and toileting. Remember, PD is a very variable condition and many never reach the advanced stages. Additional background and the full introduction to the series is still available if you missed it.

I receive a lot of questions through our Ask a Doctor feature on our website concerning advanced PD, specifically around mental health issues. In a previous blog, I discussed the management of psychosis and behavioral problems in advanced PD. Today I will discuss cognitive decline/dementia, depression, anxiety and apathy in advanced Parkinsons disease .

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How Can We Support The Sleep/wake Cycle Of Pdd

For people with PDD who are confused about the day-night cycle, some daily strategies can be helpful. At night, starting a lights out routine that happens at the same hour every day, where all curtains are closed and lights are turned off, can help the person understand that it is sleep time. During the day, opening the curtains, allowing the person with PDD to spend as much time in the daylight as possible, avoiding naps, and organizing stimulating activities, can be helpful. Having lots of calendars and clocks in every room might also help a person with PDD be less confused about the time of day.

Psychotic Symptoms And Others

What is the difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?

In addition to the symptoms we already mentioned, other symptoms may appear in both diseases. For example, in Alzheimers disease, delirium appears occasionally, while it rarely ever does in Parkinsons. Its vital to remember that delirium is an organic disorder that mainly affects consciousness and attention.

Regarding psychotic symptoms, visual hallucinations can appear in both diseases, more or less in the same proportion. Delusions may also arise. They occur often in Alzheimers and occasionally in Parkinsons.

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Diagnosis: Parkinson’s Dementia Or Dementia With Lewy Bodies

During assessment, a specialist may look at when the dementia symptoms first appeared before reaching a diagnosis of Parkinson’s dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies. 

If there have been motor symptoms for at least one year before dementia symptoms occur, specialists will often give a diagnosis of Parkinson’s dementia.

If dementia symptoms occur before or at the same time as motor symptoms, specialists will usually give a diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies.

However, it should be noted that in some cases of dementia with Lewy bodies, no motor symptoms develop at all.

Theres no single test – diagnosis is made through several different assessments, usually starting with an appointment with your GP or Parkinson’s nurse.

Some people find it helps to go to the appointment with someone who knows them well, who can give the GP or Parkinson’s nurse information about changes they’ve noticed.

Your GP can discuss your symptoms with you and carry out a physical examination, including blood and urine tests, to rule out other potential causes of the symptoms . 

Your GP may also review your medication, in case your symptoms are side effects.

If your GP thinks you have dementia, they can refer you to a specialist, such as a neurologist, psychiatrist or geriatrician.

You might be referred to a memory clinic or memory service. In some areas of the country, you can refer yourself to these services.

But if you feel you need to see the specialist again, you can ask to be referred back.  

Can You Have Both Parkinsons And Alzheimers

People who already have Parkinsons disease and later develop signs of dementia are diagnosed with Parkinsons dementia.6 However, if you first have Alzheimers disease and develop signs of movement difficulties, you can also have a diagnosis of Parkinsons disease.

Tell us about your experience in the comments below, or with the community.

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The Differences Between Parkinsons Disease And Alzheimers

Parkinsons disease and Alzheimers disease, respectively, are the causes of two common types of neurological disorders related to dementias.

However, there are many aspects that allow us to distinguish between the two diseases; in this article we will know the most important differences between Parkinsons disease and Alzheimers .

What Are The Complications Of Parkinson Disease

Parkinsons megan raven_phm1810

Parkinson disease causes physical symptoms at first. Problems with cognitive function, including forgetfulness and trouble with concentration, may arise later. As the disease gets worse with time, many people develop dementia. This can cause profound memory loss and makes it hard to maintain relationships.

Parkinson disease dementia can cause problems with:

  • Speaking and communicating with others
  • Problem solving
  • Forgetfulness
  • Paying attention

If you have Parkinson disease and dementia, in time, you likely won’t be able to live by yourself. Dementia affects your ability to care of yourself, even if you can still physically do daily tasks.

Experts don’t understand how or why dementia often occurs with Parkinson disease. Its clear, though, that dementia and problems with cognitive function are linked to changes in the brain that cause problems with movement. As with Parkinson disease, dementia occurs when nerve cells degenerate, leading to chemical changes in the brain. Parkinson disease dementia may be treated with medicines also used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, another type of dementia.

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Wait So What Is Parkinsonism

Parkinsonism refers to the motor symptoms that are typically associated with PD, such as tremors, stiffness, and walking/balance problems. Both PD and LBD are forms of Parkinsonism, meaning that PD patients and LBD patients may experience these motor symptoms.2 Because the Parkinsonism motor symptoms of PD and LBD can be very similar, it can be difficult to differentiate between the two conditions.

Will The Research Lead To A Breakthrough

Experts in these fields told Healthline this particular research does provide some encouragement.

James Hendrix, director of global science initiatives at the Alzheimers Association, said although the three diseases involve different proteins and have different effects on the brain, there is still some commonality.

He likened it to studying the motors of cars, airplanes, and boats. Although theyre different modes of transport, they still have similar engines.

Its valuable to have this cross talk. You dont want to work in a silo, Hendrix told Healthline. A discovery in one area can revolutionize another field.

George Yohrling, PhD, the senior director of mission and scientific affairs at the Huntingtons Disease Society of America, agrees.

Theyre looking at whats going on at the cellular level. What cellular machinery is being disrupted, he told Healthline.

It gets down to the cellular level, added Hendrix. If you can understand whats going wrong, you might be able to prevent that mechanism from happening.

A breakthrough is sorely needed for all these diseases.

Late last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the death rate from Alzheimers in the United States increased 55 percent between 1999 and 2014.

In addition, about 50,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with Parkinsons every year. An estimated 500,000 Americans are living with the disease.

That would be wonderful, said Yohrling.

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See A Doctor If Youre Noticing Symptoms Beyond Parkinsons

Sometimes the mood or memory changes a person experiences cannot entirely be explained just by Parkinsons. If this is the case, the caregiver should explore other diagnoses, because if something cannot be explained by Parkinsons, theres certainly a risk of it being dementia, Oguh said.

She added that some signs to look for include increased memory and behavioral problems, like mood swings, anxiety or depression. Psychiatric behaviors, like hallucinations, delusions or paranoia, cannot just be explained by Parkinsons, and are more likely to be caused by a form of dementia like Lewy body dementia.

Oguh urged caregivers to be aware of changing symptoms like these.

I think sometimes family members are able to realize sooner than the patient, Oguh said. Often the patient might lack insight as to what is happening. I would encourage family members to seek expert opinion and treatment options.

Differences Between Disease And Dementia

What’s the Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia?

We must be aware of the differences between disease and dementia, as the disease does not always lead to dementia , although it usually does.

Thus, the term dementia refers to a set of symptoms that appear as a consequence of neurological damage or disease.

Parkinsons disease, on the other hand, does not always lead to dementia ; on the other hand, Alzheimers disease always leads to dementia .

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What Causes Parkinson Disease

Parkinson disease arises from decreased dopamine production in the brain. The absence of dopamine makes it hard for the brain to coordinate muscle movements. Low dopamine also contributes to mood and cognitive problems later in the course of the disease. Experts don’t know what triggers the development of Parkinson disease most of the time. Early onset Parkinson disease is often inherited and is the result of certain gene defects.

Lewy Bodies: More Than Lbd

LBD is characterized by the presence of Lewy bodies in the nerve cells of the brain, meaning that LBD patients have Lewy bodies in the brain.2 However, Lewy bodies are also common with other conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons disease. In fact, most people with PD also have Lewy bodies in their brain. However, even if they have Lewy bodies, not all Parkinsons patients will also develop LBD.2

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Acknowledgments And Conflict Of Interest Disclosure

Data in this manuscript are original and were generated for the purpose of this study. Photomicrographs were taken from tissue provided by the Newcastle Brain Tissue Resource, which is funded in part by a grant from the UK Medical Research Council , by Brains for Dementia research, a joint venture between Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK and by the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre awarded to the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University. DLB research is supported by NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre in Ageing and Long-Term Conditions. LW is funded by the Alzheimer’s Society. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Living With Parkinson Disease

What

These measures can help you live well with Parkinson disease:

  • An exercise routine can help keep muscles flexible and mobile. Exercise also releases natural brain chemicals that can improve emotional well-being.
  • High protein meals can benefit your brain chemistry
  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapy can help your ability to care for yourself and communicate with others
  • If you or your family has questions about Parkinson disease, want information about treatment, or need to find support, you can contact the American Parkinson Disease Association.

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How Parkinsons And Alzheimers Affect The Body And Brain Differently

Alzheimers and Parkinsons are both neurological illnesses. Both diseases are caused by damaged brain cells. Both conditions can involve dementia, as well as depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. Both conditions can lead to psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations.

While Alzheimers and Parkinsons share certain causes and effects, the two diseases are different. They impact the brain and progress in different ways. Both disorders affect people differently, manifest themselves differently, and progress at different rates.

I had a father with Parkinsons and a mother with dementia. My experience was that the Parkinsons progressed at a slower rate and was more motor-related than mental.

My father experienced tremors, as well as changes in his walking and facial expressions. But his cognitive ability was relatively intact up to the very last stages of the disease. My mothers dementia made her feeble and uncertain on her feet, but she remained active and mobile, even as her cognitive ability declined.

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