Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s – They are not the Same.
Many people are confused by these terms. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease aren’t the same. Dementia is an overall term used to describe symptoms that impact memory, the performance of daily activities, and communication abilities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease gets worse with time and affects memory, language, and thought.
While younger people can develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, your risk increases as you age. Still, neither is considered a normal part of aging.
Although symptoms of the two conditions may overlap, distinguishing them is important for management and treatment.
Dementia is a syndrome, not a disease. A syndrome is a group of symptoms that doesn’t have a definitive diagnosis. Dementia is a group of symptoms that affects mental cognitive tasks such as memory and reasoning. Dementia is an umbrella term that Alzheimer’s disease can fall under. It can occur due to a variety of conditions, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s disease.
People can have more than one type of dementia. This is known as mixed dementia. Often, people with mixed dementia have multiple conditions that may contribute to dementia. A diagnosis of mixed dementia can only be confirmed in an autopsy.
The World Health Organization Trusted Source says that 47.5 million people around the world are living with dementia.
Symptoms of Dementia
It’s easy to overlook the early symptoms of dementia, which can be mild. It often begins with simple episodes of forgetfulness. People with dementia have trouble keeping track of time and tend to lose their way in familiar settings.
As dementia progresses, forgetfulness and confusion grow. It becomes harder to recall names and faces. Personal care becomes a problem. Obvious signs of dementia include repetitious questioning, inadequate hygiene, and poor decision-making.
In the most advanced stage, people with dementia become unable to care for themselves. They will struggle even more with keeping track of time, and remembering people and places they are familiar with. The behavior continues to change and can turn into depression and aggression.
You’re more likely to develop dementia as you age. It occurs when certain brain cells are damaged. Many conditions can cause dementia, including degenerative diseases such as
Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s. Each cause of dementia causes damage to a different set of brain cells.
Alzheimer’s disease is responsible for about 50 to 70 percent of all cases of dementia.
Other causes of dementia include:
infections, such as HIV
chronic drug use
Please talk to your doctor if you’re concerned that you have the symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Starting treatment promptly can help you manage your symptoms.