Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s: what’s the difference?
Dementia is a general medical term that covers a variety of unique medical conditions in which there are observable effects of abnormal brain changes, including Alzheimer’s disease. These changes usually affect the daily routine and make the patient co-dependent to some degree. Plus, it decreases cognitive functions of the brain, which are responsible for the way we think, behave and feel.
You may ask, “How does Alzheimer’s relate to this?”
As brain cells get more damaged due to Alzheimer’s disease, complicated changes occur in the brain, worsening the deadly symptoms that come with dementia at a steady rate.
Suppose you’re looking out for early signs of Alzheimer’s. You should monitor the person’s ability to learn new information, as Alzheimer’s first target is the region associated with learning.
Although the meaning of these two terms sometimes overlaps, there is a significant difference between them. Dementia refers to the symptoms that negatively affect memory; it is not forgetfulness. In dementia, you can recall information. However, if dementia progresses, the whole memory segment won’t be accessible to the individual. Alzheimer’s is a kind of brain disease that causes impairment in memory, depression, confusion, difficulty in remembering recent events, and behavioural changes.
Dementia is a broad term for a drop in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s is the most typical cause of dementia. It’s a specific disease; whereas, dementia is not. Learning about the two terms and their difference is crucial. It can empower individuals living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, their families, and caregivers with vital knowledge. Further, dementia is more than mere forgetfulness.
Dementia defines a group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory, reasoning, or other thinking skills. It’s not a normal part of ageing. Damage to brain cells affects their ability to communicate, affecting thinking, behavior, and feelings.
The earliest sign of Alzheimer’s is recalling new information because the disease naturally impacts the part of the brain associated with learning first. As Alzheimer’s advances, symptoms get more intense, including disorientation, confusion, and behaviour changes. Eventually, speaking, swallowing, and walking may become difficult. Though the most significant known risk factor for Alzheimer’s is increasing age, the disease is not a routine part of ageing.
Dementia, a cognitive mental condition that occurs in many older adults and causes declining cognition, is an umbrella term to cover many similar degenerative diseases of the brain.
Alzheimer’s is one of those diseases; the most common one, in fact. Not all people with dementia necessarily suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Different types of dementia include Lewy body, which occurs with Parkinson’s disease; arteriosclerotic, which can occur after a stroke; and alcoholic dementia.
So if someone tells you their parent has dementia and Alzheimer’s, they either don’t know this fact, or their parent has two forms of dementia, one of which is Alzheimer’s. But you’d expect them to name both or neither. It’s not unusual to have more than one kind.