November Q&A Session 2: What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

For those of you who have been following our blog, you may know that November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month! As you’ll recall from our last post,  we are taking questions related to caregiving or Alzheimer’s Disease and doing our best to answer them for you!

brain

 

Our second question in the series is this:

“People seem to use the terms Alzheimer’s and dementia interchangeably  What is the difference? ” 

Answer:

That is a GREAT question! Dementia is actually a general term that is used to describe a wide range of symptoms associated with a significant decline/change in cognitive abilities. There are many different types of dementia and Alzheimer’s is the most prevalent type, accounting for between 60-80% of cases.  Dementia is caused by damage to the brain and the type of damage is different depending on the type of dementia that  a person has. For example, with Alzheimer’s disease we know that the damage is related to high levels of certain types of proteins. However, with vascular dementia, the damage is caused by strokes, which looks different than Alzheimer’s type damage. This is part of the reason why getting a good and thorough diagnosis is so important – if you know what type of dementia you/your loved on has, you’ll know better how to treat it more effectively.   

Interested in learning more? Click here: WHAT IS DEMENTIA? or WHAT IS ALZHEIMER’S ? for more information! 

If you have a question you’d like to see addressed on this blog, email it to Kara Johnson at kjohnson1@alz.org

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