The distinctions between Alzheimer’s and dementia are often confused.
Even experts sometimes use Alzheimer’s and dementia interchangeably. They are not the same thing. Here are some definitions to explain the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The DementiaGuide explains that
“the main difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s is that Alzheimer’s is a specific disease and dementia is a symptom of Alzheimer’s.”
Dementia is a symptom that can be present because of a myriad of conditions. Alzheimer’s is a specific disease that causes dementia.
Dementia is an impairment of thinking and memory that interferes with a person’s ability to do things which he or she previously was able to do. Dementia is a symptom much like pain is a symptom. Many different injuries and illnesses can cause pain – the same is true for dementia. When you go to the doctor because you hurt, you won’t be satisfied if the doctor diagnoses “pain” and sends you home. You want to know what is causing the pain, and how to treat it. “Dementia” simply means the symptom of a deterioration of intellectual abilities resulting from an unspecified disease or disorder of the brain.
There are many different causes of dementia and Alzheimer’s is just one of them.
Alzheimer’s disease is a specific disease that causes dementia. It is a progressive brain disease. Alzheimer’s destroys brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies or social life. Alzheimer’s gets worse over time, and it is fatal. It is the most common form of dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is particularly common in older people. Because it is the most common cause of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is commonly equated with the general term dementia. However, there are many other causes of dementia. To be clear, Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia and that is the main difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s.”
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