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What's the Difference Between Dementia & Alzheimer's Disease?

GIrl helping her grandmother walk.

Many people often confuse the terms Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Although they are used interchangeably, there are distinct differences between them. Read about the differences between Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

What Is Dementia?

Dementia is not a disease, but a group of symptoms that are associated with a decline in thinking, reasoning, and/or remembering. If someone has dementia, they may have difficulty carrying out daily tasks they have performed routinely and independently throughout their lives.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, but it is only one of many possible causes.

Examples of conditions that can cause dementia:

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Vascular cognitive impairment
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • HIV
  • Traumatic brain injury

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, and this terminal, progressive brain disorder has no known cause or cure. It slowly steals the minds of its victims, leading to memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, personality changes, disorientation and the inability to communicate. Dementia usually occurs in the mid to later stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

To find out what is causing dementia symptoms, you need to undergo a thorough check-up with your doctor in order to determine what exactly is causing these symptoms. The check up may include:

  • blood tests
  • mental health evaluations
  • brain scans (only in some cases)

Doctors often can accurately diagnose the dementia symptoms in 90 percent of cases. If you know someone who appears to be losing mental abilities to a degree that interferes with daily activities and social interactions, consult a doctor right away. There are some medications and treatments that may help manage some of the symptoms, so it’s important to seek help as soon as possible.

Resources

Everything you need to manage Alzheimer's disease
This content was first posted on: May 23, 2017

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