Alzheimer’s, or more correctly, Alzheimer’s disease, and Dementia are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Alzheimer’s disease is a specific type of dementia that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. It is a progressive disease that gradually worsens over time, and is the most common cause of dementia in older adults. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for an estimated 60-80% of Dementia diagnoses in the United States.
Dementia, on the other hand, is a broader term that encompasses a range of symptoms and conditions that affect memory, thinking, and behavior. It is caused by a number of factors, including Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and others. The symptoms of dementia can range from mild memory loss to severe impairment of cognitive function, and can vary depending on the underlying cause.
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, individuals may experience mild memory loss or difficulty with familiar tasks, such as driving to a familiar location. As the disease progresses, individuals may experience more severe memory loss, difficulty communicating, changes in mood and behavior, and eventually an inability to care for themselves. On the other hand, the symptoms of dementia can range widely depending on the underlying cause, and may include memory loss, confusion, difficulty communicating, mood swings, and changes in behavior.
We want to emphasize that while Alzheimer’s disease is a specific type of dementia, dementia encompasses a wider range of conditions that affect memory, thinking, and behavior. It is important to seek a proper diagnosis from a doctor to understand the underlying cause of the symptoms and develop a comprehensive treatment plan. Early diagnosis and treatment can help slow the progression of the disease, improve quality of life, and provide individuals and their families with greater certainty and control over the future.