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What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

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Question: What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

Many people often use the terms Alzheimer’s disease and dementia interchangeably, but there are actually some significant differences between the two. It’s important to understand the distinction because the two conditions require different types of care. Here’s a quick overview of the main differences between Alzheimer’s and dementia.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a specific type of dementia that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. It is a progressive disease, which means that it gradually gets worse over time. People with Alzheimer’s disease usually experience symptoms for several years before being diagnosed.

What is dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term that covers a range of symptoms associated with a decline in cognitive function. This can include memory loss, difficulties with problem-solving, and changes in mood or personality. Unlike Alzheimer’s disease, dementia is not necessarily a progressive condition—some forms of dementia can actually be reversed with medical treatment.

Alzheimer’s vs. Dementia: Which is more common?

While both Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are relatively common in older adults, Alzheimer’s disease is far more prevalent. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, around 6.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, while around 47 million people worldwide have some form of dementia.

Alzheimer’s Association – 2022 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures 

Alzheimer’s vs. Dementia: What causes each condition?

The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is still not fully understood, but experts believe that it may be linked to a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. As for dementia, there are many different causes depending on the type of dementia in question. Some forms of dementia can be caused by things like head injuries or vitamin deficiencies, while other forms may have no known cause at all.

As you can see, there are some big differences between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia—although both conditions can cause similar symptoms like memory loss and changes in mood or behavior. If you’re concerned that you or a loved one may be showing signs of either condition, it’s important to see a doctor for an assessment as soon as possible so that the proper diagnosis and treatment can be given.

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