Dementia is a broad word that refers to a decrease in mental ability that is severe enough to interfere with daily life. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a distinct disease. Dementia isn’t one of them.
Learning about the two terminologies and their differences is crucial because it can provide those living with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, their families, and caregivers with important information.
What’s the Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease?
Overview of Dementia
Dementia refers to a set of symptoms associated with a deterioration in memory, reasoning, or other cognitive abilities. There are many different varieties of dementia, and many different illnesses can cause it. Mixed dementia is a disorder in which brain abnormalities from multiple types of dementia occur at the same time. Alzheimer’s disease is the most frequent cause of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of cases.
Dementia is not a normal component of the aging process. It is caused by brain cell damage that impairs their capacity to communicate, which can impact thought, behavior, and feelings.
Overview of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain illness characterized by complicated brain alterations induced by cell destruction. It causes dementia symptoms that develop with time. Because Alzheimer’s often affects the area of the brain linked with learning first, the most common early symptom is difficulty remembering new information.
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, symptoms such as disorientation, confusion, and behavioral changes become increasingly severe. Speaking, swallowing, and walking eventually become difficult.
Though rising age is the most significant known risk factor for Alzheimer’s, the disease is not a normal aspect of aging. And, while the majority of Alzheimer’s patients are 65 and older, roughly 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 suffer from younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease.