How Is Alzheimer’s Different From Dementia?

How Is Alzheimer’s Different From Dementia?

When you hear about Alzheimer’s and dementia, you hear those terms used interchangeably. However, the fact of the matter is, they are not the same thing at all. That is because one is a category and another is a particular disease. It is the same thing as saying all fruit are apples. Yes, an apple is a fruit, but not all fruit are apples. You have oranges, bananas, berries, mangos, kiwi, and so on. Therefore, dementia is the category, and Alzheimer’s is the disease. That is how they are different and should not be used interchangeably.

Memory loss, loss of concentration, confusion, and behavioral changes can happen in dementia ailments which Alzheimer’s is characterized by. However, there are plenty of differences as well and that is why it is essential for doctors to diagnose the correct ailment so the patient can receive the correct treatment. Let’s now cover the differences between dementia and Alzheimer’s.

There Is No Disease As Dementia

Dementia is when there are symptoms of some type of brain regression but it does not always include memory loss. However, it is a vague category and Alzheimer’s is a disease. You can have both dementia and Alzheimer’s overlapping with one another, but if a patient is displaying dementia symptoms but does not have Alzheimer’s or any other disease like it, then they will be told that they have dementia. You can also have more than one type of dementia. If you have a stroke for instance and develop dementia, what you would have is known as vascular dementia which is characterized by struggling to organize and having poor judgment. Vascular dementia does not usually involve memory loss.

Other Diseases Can Cause Dementia

Always remember that Alzheimer’s is a disease that falls under the dementia umbrella. However, there are other diseases that can cause dementia but don’t necessarily cause Alzheimer’s such as Parkinson’s disease or Huntington’s disease. Huntington’s disease is what shows up when brain cells are due and can emerge when the patient is young, in their 30s or 40s. Those who have Parkinson’s disease will show it by shaking and will end up likely developing dementia over time.

Sometimes Dementia Can Be Reversed But Alzheimer’s Cannot

Once you have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, you, unfortunately, can never reverse it. The best you can do is prolong the progression through utilizing a healthy lifestyle and through daily brain exercises. Not all forms of dementia are reversible too, but some are. Another cause of dementia can result from being vitamin deficient or having a bad drug interaction. If the diagnosis of that type of dementia is correct and treated right away, that is when dementia can be reversed.

Alzheimer’s Can Impair You Physically And You Can See It Up Close

Dementia does not have an effect on you physically at all. However, dementia can cause physical impairments such as causing you to have trouble swallowing and walking when the progression is quite advanced. That is why Alzheimer’s patients often end up with feeding tubes and have to utilize wheelchairs whereas those with any other type of dementia do not always end up that way. Also, if you have Alzheimer’s disease, if you have a brain scan, plaques and tangles can be seen on your brain whereas dementia alone cannot. However, once the patient dies, a postmortem will be able to show the true effects on the brain from Alzheimer’s.

Therefore, as you can see, Alzheimer’s is not the same as dementia and vice versa as you can see there are some vast differences. Some forms of dementia can also affect you when you are younger than Alzheimer’s generally does. If you are concerned though, you will want to see your doctor to rule it out.

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