What is the Difference Between Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s?

Dementia vs Alzheimer’s

A common misconception people have is that dementia vs Alzheimer’s disease are different names for the same condition. While there are some similarities and overlap, they are not the same thing.

Memory loss is something that many associate with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. However, experiencing memory loss does not mean a person has Alzheimer’s or dementia. Despite this fact, you should monitor this symptom and not take it lightly.

Dementia:

Dementia is not necessarily a disease, but a term used to describe overall symptoms associated with the decline in one’s mental ability in their daily life. The older we get, the chance to develop dementia heightens. However, dementia can also be temporary or in some cases even reversible when brought on by drug interaction or nutrition.

Dementia vs. Alzheimer's

Due to the nature of dementia, there are several different types: Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy Body Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease Dementia, Frontotemporal disorder, Vascular Dementia, Vascular Cognitive Impairment and Mixed Dementia. Each form of dementia affects the brain differently and makes it difficult for the individual to engage in daily activities of life.

Dementia is often brought on as the result of other conditions that may damage certain brain cells, which
affects the communication between brain cells. A few of these conditions are Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression, stroke, or chronic drug use. These impairments can cause issues for the individual when it comes to communication, language, reasoning, and focus.

Alzheimer’s:

The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. While occasional forgetfulness is commonly experienced as you age, Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of the aging process. Unlike dementia, Alzheimer’s is not reversible. 

High deposits of proteins on the outside and inside of brain cells interfere in brain activity and make it difficult for the brain to function properly. Damage to the brain does not produce immediate symptoms and can go undetected. Diagnosing Alzheimer’s is impossible while a person is alive. There is testing specialists and doctors can do to determine whether or not it’s Alzheimer’s. Examining the brain in autopsy is the only way to confirm Alzheimer’s. At this time there is no cure for Alzheimer’s.

Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s Symptoms

Most of the symptoms of dementia are fairly similar to those with Alzheimer’s disease. However, depending on the type of dementia symptoms can vary. Short-term memory changes are an overarching symptom seen in both individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Individuals may experience struggles in communication when it comes to finding the right words,  repetitiveness, and inability to follow a story. Mood changes and confusion are also seen in those with dementia.

While there are factors that you cannot change, such as your genes or age, there are changes you can make when it comes to preventing dementia & Alzheimer’s. Decreasing your alcohol use, quitting smoking habits, healthy diet, consistent mental and physical fitness, and staying on top of your diabetes are all ways to decrease your risk of developing dementia.

Memory Care at Renaissance Village

At Renaissance Villages, we understand what you’re going through as you care for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. We understand the sadness, frustration, and helplessness you may be feeling. Dealing with all of this can be difficult, but please know that you are not alone in this. Renaissance Villages is here to support you and your loved one in any way that we can.

Learn More About Memory Care

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