How Long Does It Take to Lower Cholesterol?

How Long Does It Take to Lower Cholesterol?

If you’re trying to lower your cholesterol, you might be wondering how long it will take to see results.

The answer isn’t always straightforward, as it depends on a few factors. But, in general, you can expect to see some improvements within a few months.

This article will explore how long it takes to lower cholesterol and what you can do to speed up the process.

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood. Although your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, too much cholesterol can lead to heart disease. High cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.

There are two types of cholesterol:

  1. LDL (low-density lipoprotein)
  2. HDL (high-density lipoprotein)

Because it can build up in your arteries and cause plaque, LDL cholesterol is often called “bad” cholesterol.

Plaque is a sticky substance that can narrow your arteries and make it hard for blood to flow through them. Because it helps remove LDL cholesterol from your arteries, HDL cholesterol is often described as “good” cholesterol.

Normal cholesterol levels are:

  • LDL cholesterol: Less than 100 mg/dL
  • HDL cholesterol: 40 mg/dL or higher
  • Total cholesterol: Less than 200 mg/dL

If your levels are above these numbers, you may be at risk for heart disease.

How Long Does It Take to Lower Cholesterol?

It’s a common question, and unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on a number of factors:

  • Your Starting Point – Your starting point is perhaps the most important factor in how long it will take to lower your cholesterol. If you have very high cholesterol, it may take longer to see results than if you have only slightly elevated levels.
  • The Severity of Your Condition – If you have other risk factors for heart disease (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of heart disease), it may take longer to lower your cholesterol.
  • Your Age and Gender – Older adults and women tend to have higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, which can help protect against heart disease. This may mean that it takes longer to see results.
  • Your Diet – If you eat a lot of saturated fat and cholesterol, it will take longer to lower your cholesterol than if you eat a healthy diet. This is because your diet has a direct impact on your cholesterol levels.
  • Your Lifestyle – If you smoke, don’t exercise, and are overweight, it will take longer to lower your cholesterol. This is because these lifestyle factors can contribute to high cholesterol levels. Getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight will help you see results faster.

If you have any questions about how long it will take to lower your cholesterol, be sure to ask your doctor. They can help you create a personalized plan to reach your goals.

Other Important Things to Remember about Cholesterol:

If your cholesterol is only slightly elevated, you may be able to lower it by making lifestyle changes alone. This includes eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking. These changes can take some time to have an effect, but they’re worth it in the long run.

If your cholesterol is more than 200 mg/dL, you may need medication as well as lifestyle changes to lower it. Medications called statins are usually the first choice.

These drugs can start working within a few weeks, but it may take up to six months to see the full effect. If you have other health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, you may need to take more than one medication.

It’s important to stick with your treatment plan, even if you don’t see results right away. And remember, it takes time to lower cholesterol.

Making lifestyle changes can be hard, but the payoff is worth it in the form of a healthier heart. So, keep at it, and talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

What Causes High Cholesterol Levels?

High cholesterol levels can be caused by many factors, such as:


One of the most common causes of high cholesterol levels is genetics. If your parents or grandparents had high cholesterol, chances are you will, too. If this is the case, you’ll benefit from being more mindful of your diet and lifestyle choices.

Unhealthy Diet

A diet high in saturated and trans fats can cause your cholesterol levels to rise. Foods like red meat, full-fat dairy products, processed foods, and vegetable oils are all common culprits.

On the other hand, a diet rich in healthy fats (such as olive oil, nuts, and avocados) can actually help lower your cholesterol levels.

Lack of Exercise

If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you are more likely to have high cholesterol levels. Regular exercise helps to increase your HDL (good) cholesterol levels and decrease your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.


Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your cholesterol levels. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes damage the LDL particles, making them more likely to stick to the artery walls.

If you don’t quit smoking, it will be very difficult to lower your cholesterol levels.


Being overweight or obese is another major risk factor for high cholesterol. Fat cells produce more triglycerides, which are a type of fat that can raise your cholesterol levels. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do to lower your cholesterol levels.


If you have diabetes, your body may not process cholesterol properly, which can also lead to higher levels. This is because high levels of sugar in the blood can damage the LDL particles, making them more likely to stick to the artery walls.


As you get older, your cholesterol levels tend to rise. This is because the arteries become more rigid and less able to remove LDL from the blood. Women also have a higher risk of developing high cholesterol than men. This is due to changes in hormones during menopause.

What Are the Dangers of Having High Cholesterol Levels?

High cholesterol is a serious health concern because it can lead to different life-threatening health problems, such as:

  • Stroke – One of the dangers of having high cholesterol levels is that it can lead to a stroke. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, and this can happen if there is a blockage in an artery. High cholesterol levels can cause this blockage because it can build up on the walls of arteries.
  • Heart Attack – Another danger of having high cholesterol levels is that it can lead to a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to the heart is interrupted, and this can happen if there is a blockage in an artery. High cholesterol levels can cause this blockage because it can build up on the walls of arteries.
  • High Blood Pressure – High cholesterol levels can also lead to high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a condition in which the force of the blood against your artery walls is too high. Over time, this can damage your arteries and lead to heart disease, stroke, and other problems. If you have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, it’s important to lower both numbers.
  • Kidney Disease – High cholesterol levels can also lead to kidney disease. Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys are not able to filter the blood properly. If you have kidney disease, you may need to take medication to lower your cholesterol.
  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) – High cholesterol levels can also lead to peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD is a condition in which the arteries that supply blood to the limbs are narrowed or blocked. This can lead to different health problems, such as stroke and heart attack. Therefore, you must take measures to lower your cholesterol as soon as possible.

Ways to Reduce Cholesterol Effectively

Despite what you may have heard, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how long it takes to lower cholesterol. The reality is that how quickly your cholesterol levels improve depends on a number of factors, including your age, weight, diet, and activity level.

That said, there are some general guidelines you can follow to help improve your cholesterol levels. Let us explore them in more detail below:

1. Establish a Healthy Diet

One of the most important things you can do to lower your cholesterol is to eat a healthy diet. This means eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.

You should also limit your intake of saturated fat, trans fat, and sugar. In addition to eating healthy foods, you should also pay attention to how much you’re eating. Overeating can lead to weight gain, which can in turn raise your cholesterol levels.

2. Engage in Regular Exercise

Another great way to lower your cholesterol is to exercise regularly. aerobic exercise, in particular, has been shown to be effective at reducing cholesterol levels.

So, how much exercise do you need to do? The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. That comes out to about 30 minutes of exercise, five days per week.

3. Quit Smoking

If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your cholesterol levels. Smoking damages your blood vessels and makes it harder for your body to remove LDL (bad) cholesterol from your bloodstream. Quitting smoking will help improve your overall health and lower your risk of heart disease.

4. Take Medications

In some cases, lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough to lower cholesterol levels. If this is the case, your doctor may prescribe medications to help.

There are a number of different cholesterol-lowering medications available, including statins, bile acid sequestrants, and niacin. These medications can be effective at lowering LDL cholesterol levels and reducing your risk of heart disease.

5. Visit Your Doctor Regularly

Regular check-ups are very important, especially if you have a family history of heart disease. During these appointments, your doctor will check your cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

They may also recommend lifestyle changes or medications to help lower your risk of heart disease.

6. Cut Fat Consumption

These days, it’s hard to avoid consuming fat. It’s in so many of the foods we eat, from french fries to hamburgers. However, it’s important to limit your fat intake if you want to lower your cholesterol levels.

Saturated and trans fats are the worst offenders when it comes to cholesterol. So, try to avoid these as much as possible. Instead, focus on eating healthy fats, like those found in olive oil, nuts, and avocados.

If you can’t immediately start following all of the tips above, don’t worry. Making even small changes to your lifestyle can have a big impact on your cholesterol levels.

So, start with one or two of the tips and work your way up from there. And, remember to talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

Even though the process of lowering cholesterol takes time, it is well worth the effort. By making some simple lifestyle changes, you can improve your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.

Bottom Line

High cholesterol levels can contribute to the development of heart disease. If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes and medication to help lower your cholesterol levels. These treatments can take weeks or months to be effective.

If you have high cholesterol, talk to your doctor about how you can lower your risk for heart disease. This way, you can immediately start taking steps to protect your heart health. Don’t wait to lower your cholesterol levels. The sooner you start, the better.

What Are the Benefits of In-Home Care for Alzheimer’s Patients?

What Are the Benefits of In-Home Care for Alzheimer’s Patients?

It can be hard to see a loved one suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. The progressive neurological disorder causes memory loss and affects a person’s ability to think, communicate, and complete everyday tasks.

If you have a loved one who is battling Alzheimer’s, you may be wondering if in-home care is the right option for them. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of in-home care for Alzheimer’s patients and help you decide if it is the best choice for your loved one.

What Is In-home Care?

In-home care is a broad term that includes a variety of services provided in the home to keep seniors safe and healthy. These services can be provided by family members, friends, or professional caregivers, and can range from light housekeeping tasks to more complex medical care.

In-home care is a popular option for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease because it allows them to age in place. Plus, it gives family members of Alzheimer’s patients the peace of mind that their loved ones are being cared for by someone who is trained to deal with the unique challenges of the disease.

Types of In-home Care

There are several types of in-home care that can be beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients. These include:

Personal Care Services

These services can help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grooming, walking, transferring, personal hygiene, and eating. They can also provide transportation to and from doctor’s appointments, run errands, and provide medication reminders. With this type of care, the focus is on the individual needs of the client.

Companion Care Services

This type of care focuses on providing social interaction and companionship for the patient. It can also involve activities such as cooking, light housekeeping, errands, and shopping. This type of care can help to improve the quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients.

Respite Care Services

This type of care is designed to provide relief for caregivers. It can involve providing overnight care, weekend care, or even just a few hours of respite during the week. This type of care can help to reduce caregiver burnout and improve the quality of life for both the patient and the caregiver.

Homemaker Services

These services can help with light housekeeping tasks such as laundry, vacuuming, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and changing linens. This can be a great relief for caregivers who are struggling to keep up with everything.

How to Choose the Right Provider

When it comes to choosing an in-home care provider for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you want to be sure you are making the best decision for their health and well-being. Here are a few factors to keep in mind when meeting with potential providers:

Services Offered

It’s very important to determine what services the provider offers and if they are a good fit for your loved one’s needs. For instance, some in-home care providers may only offer basic assistance with companion and homemaker services, while others may offer Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) or Home Health Aides (HHA) to provide assistance with hands-on personal care and activities of daily living along with light housekeeping.

Some providers offer nurses if skilled services are required, such as managing a feeding tube, colostomy bags, tracheostomies, medication administration, wound care, filling a pill organizer, etc. These services are not within the CNA or HHA scope of practice. 


The cost of in-home care can vary greatly depending on the type of care you need and where you live, but it is generally much cheaper than nursing home care depending on the number of hours required.

Companion/homemakers are often less expensive than Certified Nursing Assistants or Home Health Aides. Registered Nurses or Licensed Practical Nurses are much more expensive due to the skilled professional services they provide. 

Make sure to verify if the provider is licensed as required by the Florida Statutes before making a decision. 


Make sure to choose an in-home care provider that can be reached 24/7. This way, you can easily get in touch with them if you have any questions, need to make any changes to your schedule, or there is a change in your loved one’s status. You should also be able to schedule appointments and visits easily.


It’s also important to consider the flexibility of in-home care. This type of care can be adapted to the changing needs of the person with Alzheimer’s.

For example, if the individual’s condition deteriorates and they need more help with activities of daily living, in-home care can be increased. On the other hand, if the individual experiences a temporary improvement in their condition, in-home care can be reduced.


Make sure to discuss the care schedule with the in-home caregiver. It’s important that the caregiver is available when needed, but also has time off to rest and recharge. A good care schedule will take into account the needs of both the individual with Alzheimer’s and the caregiver.


Last but not least, it’s important to find an in-home caregiver who is compassionate and compatible with the individual with Alzheimer’s. This means finding someone who is patient, understanding and has a good sense of humor. It’s also important that the caregiver is physically able to meet the demands of the job.

How Much Does It Cost?

In-home care for Alzheimer’s patients can be costly, with monthly bills averaging around $4,500. However, there are many ways to offset the costs.

One way is to use in-home care services through the Medicaid waiver program. This program provides financial assistance to help cover the cost of in-home care for those who qualify.

Long-term care (LTC) insurance policies help to cover the costs. There is usually an elimination period prior to LTC paying for the visits. Contact your LTC company to verify daily benefit coverage as it varies per policy. 

Often in-home care is privately paid for by the client or family. 

No matter how you choose to pay for it, in-home care can be a valuable resource for Alzheimer’s patients and their families. The care and support provided by a professional caregiver can help improve the quality of life for both the patient and their loved ones.

If you are considering in-home care for an Alzheimer’s patient, be sure to talk to your doctor or case manager about all of your options. They can help you determine what type of care is best for your situation and how to find the resources you need to make it happen. You may also reach out to a provider that can send a nurse to do an in-home consultation and assess the needs.

Benefits of In-home Care For Alzheimer’s

There are many benefits of in-home care for Alzheimer’s patients, including:

Maintaining Independence and Quality of Life

In-home care can help Alzheimer’s patients maintain their independence and quality of life by allowing them to age in place. This is because in-home care can be tailored to meet the specific needs of each individual.

For example, if an Alzheimer’s patient is having difficulty with activities of daily living, in-home care can provide assistance with tasks such as:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming

In addition, in-home care can also help Alzheimer’s patients by providing transportation to doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, and other errands.

Guarantees Social Interaction

In-home care can also provide much-needed social interaction for Alzheimer’s patients. Professional caregivers can engage seniors in conversation, play games with them, and help them participate in activities they enjoy. This social interaction is important for maintaining cognitive function and preventing loneliness and isolation.

Reduces Stress for Family Caregivers

Perhaps the most important benefit of in-home care for Alzheimer’s patients is that it can help reduce stress for family caregivers. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be emotionally and physically draining, and many family caregivers find themselves feeling overwhelmed.

In-home care can provide respite for family caregivers, giving them a much-needed break from the demands of caregiving. This can help reduce caregiver burnout and prevent negative health effects such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Providing Companionship

Professional caregivers can provide Alzheimer’s patients with the companionship they need. This is especially beneficial for seniors who live alone or whose family members live far away. Caregivers can help seniors with Alzheimer’s disease stay connected to the outside world and prevent them from feeling isolated and lonely.

If you are considering in-home care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to choose a reputable, experienced, and licensed home care agency. This way, you can be sure your loved one will receive the best possible care.


In-home care is an important option to consider for your loved one with Alzheimer’s. There are many benefits of in-home care, including that it can help clients maintain their independence and quality of life, provide social interaction, reduces stress for family caregivers, and can provide companionship.

If you are considering in-home care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, you must start by considering the specific needs of your loved one to ensure that in-home care is the best option. 

You should also consult with a doctor, social worker, or other professional to get started. In-home care can be an excellent option for those with Alzheimer’s, providing many benefits that help one maintain their quality of life.

11 Key Fall Prevention Tips and Strategies For Older Adults

11 Key Fall Prevention Tips and Strategies For Older Adults

Every year, on the first day of fall, the U.S. honors National Fall Prevention Awareness Day. As another September rolls around, that makes it the perfect time to remind ourselves of the causes and risks of falls and the importance of taking proactive action to prevent them. Don’t let the fear of falling control your life. Just learn how to empower yourself with these fall prevention tips.

Why Is Fall Prevention Important?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC,) every year, over one-third of people 65 years of age and older fall. One in five falls leads to a severe injury like a head injury or broken bone. Falls are the leading cause of preventable injury and the leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI.)

Three million older people each year are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries, and 800,000 per year are hospitalized for one, most commonly hip fractures and head injuries. A senior dies from a fall every 20 minutes. Each year, this rate increases. If this pace continues, the US will see seven fall-related deaths per hour by 2030.

Preventing falls protects you and those you love from becoming one of these unfortunate statistics. And, it helps ensure you and they have as long, active, and independent lives as possible. In this article, we will talk about the common causes of falls, and their risk factors, and we will be proving you with 11 fall prevention tips and strategies.

Common Causes of Falls

There are many possible causes of a fall. An older person’s hearing, eyesight, or reflexes may be less sharp than they used to be. A condition like heart disease, diabetes, or trouble with your blood vessels, nerves, feet, or thyroid can impair your balance. Certain medications that make you sleepy or dizzy can lead you to fall, as can safety hazards in the living environment. Confusion, such as waking up uncertain where you are, can cause falls.

What Are the Risk Factors for Falls?

Older age is one of the most common and well-known risk factors for falling. As you age, the risk of falling increases, as does the risk and potential severity of a fall-related injury.

Risk factors associated with advancing age include gait and balance challenges, muscular weakness, and excessively fast or dramatic changes in blood pressure when you rise from a lying down or seated position.

Painful foot issues are also a risk factor for falls, as is unsafe footwear, like high heels or backless shoes.

Another common risk factor for falls is hospitalization. This is due to several reasons, including:

  • The new and unfamiliar surroundings
  • Medications and treatments provided in that setting (the more medications you take, the more likely you are to fall)
  • Potential illness leading to or occurring during hospitalization
  • Decreased activity

These factors can all lead a patient to feel unsteady, weak, and confused. For this reason, even seniors who were independent and active at home could need help performing simple tasks like using the bathroom or getting out of bed while in the hospital without falling.

Other common risk factors for falls include:

  • Weakness in the lower body
  • Vitamin D or calcium deficiency
  • Trouble balancing and walking
  • Certain medications, like antidepressants, sedatives, and tranquilizers, as well as certain over-the-counter medications, can impair balance and steadiness on one’s feet
  • Vision issues
  • Foot pain
  • Poor footwear
  • Hazards in the home like uneven or broken stairs or clutter and throw rugs on the floor

If you or an older person you know has any of these risk factors for falls, take whatever extra precautions are necessary to help prevent falls. Shortly, we’ll go over some of those measures.

What Is Falls Prevention Awareness Day?

National Falls Prevention Awareness Week is a nationwide health campaign to raise awareness about falls with a focus on injury prevention.

Falls Prevention Week always takes place the first week of September, with Falls Prevention Day being the first day of fall in a given year. For 2022, we observe Fall Prevention Week from September 18-24, 2022. Falls Prevention Day is Thursday, September 22, 2022.

During this occasion, various states and Falls Free Initiative partners promote and host educational events about how falls impact older adults and that offer practical solutions for preventing them.

Fall Prevention Tips and Strategies

Taking care of your health and safety, in general, could help to reduce your risk of falling and avoid falls and serious injury from falls. Here are 11 fall prevention tips and specific ways to do that:

1. Remain Physically Active

Determine an exercise program most suitable for you. Exercising regularly helps you build muscle strength and maintain flexible joints, ligaments, and tendons.

To slow down osteoporosis-related bone loss, try some light, weight-bearing activities, like climbing stairs or walking.

2. Check Your Vision and Hearing

Get your vision and hearing checked regularly–at least once a year. Get them checked, as well, if you notice any differences in your ability to see or hear. You may not think the changes are big enough to warrant examination, but, as you advance in age, even the slightest changes in hearing or vision can lead to a fall.

Anytime you get new glasses or contact lenses, take some time getting used to them, slowly and in familiar spaces. And, always wear them as prescribed and whenever you feel you need them. If you get a hearing aid, make sure it fits comfortably and properly. And, be sure to wear it.

3. Learn About Your Medications

Specifically, learn the side effects of any medications you take. In addition, learn of any contraindications between any medications you’re taking. If any medication makes you feel dizzy or sleepy, notify your doctor or pharmacist immediately. Don’t stop taking any medications, however, without your doctor’s orders or approval.

4. Sleep Well

Sleeping well means getting sufficient, regular, restorative sleep. That means getting enough hours of deep and restful sleep every night. When we sleep is when our body clock resets or restores a state of homeostasis. This is essential for many natural, daily functions, including many that can impact your risk of falling, such as balance, energy level, and mental clarity. The bottom line here is that, if you are sleepy, your chances of falling are greater.

5. Restrict Your Alcohol Intake

Alcohol can also make you sleepy and impair your vision, judgment, spatial orientation, reflexes, and balance.

6. Use Technology

There are many health and safety technologies nowadays that can help protect older adults from falls in various ways. For instance:

  • Alarm systems – Mitigate the threat of falling by alerting help right away
  • Surveillance cameras – Help identify the cause of a fall or monitor a person’s safety remotely
  • Smart hubs with voice commands – Allow a person to control various devices like thermostats without having to get up
  • Smart lighting – Can be programmed for different settings in different rooms at different times and even set to be motion-activated
  • Stairlifts – To help prevent some of the most dangerous falls

7. Use Assistive Walking Devices

If you need a cane or a walker, use it. And, if your doctor recommends you use one, obey your doctor. Assistive devices are particularly valuable when walking in busy or unfamiliar areas. Even in familiar areas, however, if there are uneven walkways or crowded walkways, a cane or walker can be useful.

8. Get Up Slowly

When standing up from a lying down or seated position, go slowly. Don’t be in such a rush. Take your time. Standing too quickly can make your blood pressure drop sharply and fast. This, in turn, can make you feel lightheaded and unsteady on your feet.

9. Be Cautious on Wet and Icy Surfaces

Better yet, avoid walking on wet or icy surfaces in the first place, if you can. But if you must, just be extra careful. Walk slower. Hold onto railings or other supports, if available. Pay close attention to your surroundings to avoid bumping into or tripping over things. Pause if you feel unsteady, whether lightheaded or weak-kneed.

While these suggestions are wise anytime you walk in any weather, they’re particularly vital when walking on wet or icy surfaces. If you’re able to, have salt or sand spread on any icy patches by the front and back doors of your home.

10. Wear Appropriate Shoes

The right shoes can help you maintain balance, lower leg strength, and a proper grip on your walking surface. These include rubber-soled, non-skid shoes that support your feet fully. They should be either lace-up or low-heeled shoes, and the soles should be neither too thin nor too thick. Avoid walking on floors or steps in socks, slippers, or shoes with smooth soles.

11. Fall-proof Your Home

While it may not be possible to eliminate all fall hazards in your home, you can help minimize their threat by fall-proofing your home. That includes clearing all items from your walking paths, like hallways, entryways, and stairs.


Falls are an increasing concern as you age: the risk of having one increases with age, and the potential consequences can be increasingly more severe. You can help prevent falls, however, by taking the necessary steps to protect yourself from the common causes and risk factors for falls.

What Is Grief Counseling and How Does It Help?

What Is Grief Counseling and How Does It Help?

Everyone experiences loss and the grief that comes afterward. As long as you feel love and care for someone or something, loss and grief remain an inevitable part of your life.

There is neither a right nor wrong way to grieve. Each person grieves differently and copes with the emotion and the events that brought it about in their own way.

Some people may handle grief well. However, many people struggle with grief, resulting in a disruption in their daily life, a dip in their mental health, and even potentially harmful ways of coping.

Having a deeper understanding of what exactly grief is can help you process the feelings brought on by the loss you experienced in a better, more productive way.


What Is the Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s?

What Is the Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s?

The terms Alzheimer’s and dementia are frequently used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing.

Both refer to debilitating states of decline in various areas of thinking and behavior. Their causes and, therefore, their prognoses and treatment options, however, can be quite different.

For this reason, it is essential to understand the difference between the two in order to address it properly.

If you or someone close to you has Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia, it’s important to understand what is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s. This will help you and your loved one to move forward together in a more proactive way.

What Is Dementia?

Dementia is a decline in cognitive capacities so significant it interferes with daily living. It is not a disease but a generic term referring to a collection of symptoms that many different diseases may cause.

Dementia is frequently erroneously described as senility. This derives from a now debunked theory that severe cognitive decline is a regular part of the aging process.

Dementia is not simply a normal part of the aging process. Rather, it occurs due to brain cell damage impacting a person’s capacity to communicate. In turn, this can impact the person’s feelings, behavior, and thinking.

Symptoms of Dementia

Possible dementia symptoms include:

  • A decline in reasoning skills and judgment
  • Declining memory, both long-term and short-term
  • Lowered attention and focus
  • Language difficulties
  • Mood or behavior changes
  • Changes in other cognitive abilities, including thinking and problem solving

If a person, therefore, has trouble keeping track of basic, belongings like a wallet or purse, paying bills, recalling appointments, traveling beyond familiar areas, or meal planning and preparation, they may have dementia and should be checked by a doctor right away.

There are numerous kinds of dementia and numerous conditions that can cause it. When more than a single kind of dementia is responsible for different changes in the brain, a person is said to have mixed dementia.

Causes of Dementia

The number one contributor to dementia is Alzheimer’s. The second to that is vascular dementia which happens when microscopic blood vessel blockage and microscopic bleeding occur in the brain.

There are, however, other common causes of dementia, including:

  • Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD)
  • Parkinson’s disease (PD)
  • Hippocampal sclerosis (HS)

While these conditions, and therefore dementia symptoms, are generally permanent and progressive, those caused by certain manageable symptoms are reversible, like those caused by vitamin deficiencies and thyroid trouble.

Dementia can also be the result of mixed pathologies or more than one cause. When this occurs, the patient is said to have mixed dementia or mixed etiological dementia.

Risk Factors for Dementia

One of the most identifiable risk factors for dementia is mild cognitive impairment (MCI) which is a slight decline in a person’s thinking and memory skills. Estimates are that each year, 10 to 15 percent of people with MCI later develop dementia.

Less than one in five people, however, are familiar with MCI symptoms, leading to potentially detrimental delays in diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment for Dementia

Because dementia is a variety of symptoms associated with a variety of diseases, the right treatment for an individual’s case of dementia depends on what’s causing it.

Professional medical evaluation could identify a treatable condition responsible for dementia, in which case, the doctor would treat that condition as a primary treatment course for dementia symptoms.

Even when the doctor does diagnose the patient as having dementia symptoms, early intervention can help the individual receive maximum benefits from the treatments available.

It also gives the person the chance to participate in volunteer studies or clinical trials related to their dementia symptoms or the conditions causing it. Early diagnosis and treatment additionally offer the patient time to plan for future concerns.

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic illness that produces progressively more severe symptoms of dementia. It is caused by significant changes in the brain occurring after brain cells become damaged, making Alzheimer’s a degenerative brain disease.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 6 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. This number is expected to rise to nearly 13 million by 2050.

Alzheimer’s accounts for 60-80 percent of cases of dementia.

Like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging, although most people with the disease are 65 or older. Increasing age is the disease’s most common risk factor.

Still, around 200,000 Americans younger than 65 have a version of the illness known as younger-onset Alzheimer’s.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

The first sign of Alzheimer’s is forgetting new information since the disease usually starts by damaging the region of the brain related to learning and memory.

As the disease progresses, symptoms may include several different types of dementia including Lewy body dementia, Frontotemporal dementia, vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease dementia, and mixed dementia as well as:

  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
  • Limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

The most obvious and apparent Alzheimer’s symptoms to most observers are variations of confusion, disorientation, and behavioral changes. These show up in several ways, including:

  • Disruptive memory loss
  • Trouble planning or problem-solving
  • Challenges finishing familiar tasks and participating in familiar activities
  • Confusion regarding place or time
  • Problems comprehending spatial relationships and visual imagery
  • New difficulties writing or speaking words
  • Misplacing objects and belongings and losing the capacity to retrace one’s steps
  • Poor, impaired, or reduced judgment
  • Withdrawal from social activities or work
  • Mood or personality changes

In the advanced stages of the disease, a person develops trouble walking, speaking, and swallowing.

Causes of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s occurs when the brain accumulates abnormal proteins, namely phosphorylated tau and beta-amyloid. In addition, nerve cells in the brain begin to degenerate.

How Doctors Diagnose Alzheimer’s

Doctors have several tools at their disposal for diagnosing a person’s dementia as Alzheimer’s related. These include:

  • The patient’s medical history
  • Mental status tests
  • Physical exams
  • Neurological exams
  • Brain imaging
  • Diagnostic tests

Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s

There are several risk factors for Alzheimer’s, although the exact causes of the disease are not yet known. These risk factors include:

  • Older age
  • Heredity / genetics
  • Family history
  • Head injury
  • Heart issues

Treatment for Alzheimer’s

It can be difficult to recognize and acknowledge Alzheimer’s symptoms in yourself or another.

If you notice symptoms, you may feel anxious about bringing them up with other people. This is because discussing the symptoms may make the possibility of what could be occurring feel more real. If you notice these symptoms in someone else, you could fear upsetting them if you share your observations with them.

Despite these uncomfortable situations, it’s imperative to broach these concerns with a doctor as soon as possible.

There are currently four approved medications prescribed for people with Alzheimer’s. These medications all address the symptoms exclusively; currently, there is no known medication to eliminate or cure the disease.

  • Aducanumab (Aduhelm)
  • Donepezil (Aricept)
  • Galantamine (Reminyl ER)
  • Rivastigmine (Exelon)
  • Memantine (Ebixa)

What Is the Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s?

Dementia is not a chronic illness, while Alzheimer’s is. Nevertheless, they have many of the same symptoms, and the two may be either correlative or causative.

Alzheimer’s disease is both a type and cause of dementia. By the same token, many types of dementia are considered causes of Alzheimer’s.

In this way, as suggested throughout this article, the two are often intertwined.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s vs. Dementia

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s are mostly the same as certain types of dementia, though some differences may occur.

More specifically, certain types of dementia focus on particular symptoms, typically based on the area(s) of the brain being affected. For instance, frontotemporal dementia affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, which control behavior and personality.

By contrast, people with Alzheimer’s generally experience a broad spectrum of symptoms. This is why you can often see behavior and personality changes sooner in a person with frontotemporal dementia than in a person with Alzheimer’s.

Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s vs. Dementia

Similarly to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia, the risk factors for each also overlap considerably. But, certain types of dementia affected by particular parts of the brain may have additional risk factors unique to that region.

For instance, stroke is a risk factor for vascular dementia; heredity, meanwhile, is a risk factor for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Among cases of Alzheimer’s caused by MCI, within five years approximately one-third develop dementia.

Differences Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia and Normal Age-related Issues

As stated early, neither Alzheimer’s nor dementia are natural consequences of the process of aging. The differences between them are significant and distinct, though they can be difficult to distinguish.

Since the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia are both listed in detail above, here, we’ll list their similar but distinct correlations associated with aging.

  • Making poor decisions occasionally
  • Missing one monthly payment on a bill
  • Forgetting the day or date momentarily, but later recalling it
  • Periodically forgetting the right word to use in a particular situation
  • Losing items now and again

Notice the commonality among all of these distinctions is that they each occur once in a while. If they start happening more frequently or become a pattern, there may be more than aging at play, and a doctor’s evaluation for Alzheimer’s or dementia should take place.

The prognosis for Alzheimer’s vs. Dementia

Alzheimer’s is progressive and incurable; ultimately it is fatal. The Alzheimer’s Association reports people 65 and over live 4 to 8 years on average following an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis, though some can live up to 20 years.

As such, treatment for Alzheimer’s generally focuses on managing symptoms and slowing the pace of decline.

As for dementia, given that it’s not a medical condition but rather a collection of symptoms, it is not fatal. How treatable a case of dementia may or may not depend a lot on its cause.

A person can live a long, full life with dementia if under proper care. By contrast, however, one in three seniors dies due to Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related condition.

This is greater than the number of people prostate cancer and breast cancer kill combined. Due to COVID-19, 2020 saw the number of deaths from Alzheimer’s or dementia jump by 17 percent.


Dementia is a collection of symptoms, whereas Alzheimer’s disease is a condition that causes those symptoms. You can have dementia without having Alzheimer’s; but, if you have Alzheimer’s, you can expect to have dementia.

Whether or not a full recovery is possible, help is available. You don’t have to go through Alzheimer’s or dementia alone.

Now that you know what is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s, if you or anyone you know is experiencing any symptoms of Alzheimer’s or dementia, contact your doctor immediately for an evaluation.

Similarly, if you possess any of the risk factors for either one, contact your doctor to discuss how you can reduce your risk of developing it or slow its progress if it’s incurable.