The Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease and DementiaNovember 05, 2020
November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. To spread the word, we want to help clarify the difference between the terms “Alzheimer’s disease” and “dementia.” I hear a lot of confusion between these words, but there’s a simple distinction.
The term “dementia” is a general term that describes a group of symptoms, such as memory loss, increased confusion, and challenges with reasoning. There are a variety of possible causes of dementia. Think of the word “dementia” as an umbrella term, similar to the word “cancer” (which is also a general term that has many different types and causes).
Alzheimer’s disease is one cause of dementia. It is the most common cause, making up between 60 - 80% of dementia cases. However, there are many other causes of dementia, some of which are reversible. Some other causes of dementia could be vitamin deficiencies, thyroid issues, alcohol use, tumors, mini-strokes (also known as transient ischemic attacks or TIAs), to name a few. For this reason, health professionals encourage people who experience cognitive changes to speak to their doctors early.
While the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease isn’t completely understood, scientists believe its development is associated with the build-up of abnormal plaques and tangles in the brain. These plaques and tangles interrupt neurons that deliver information to your brain. Eventually, these neurons become damaged and die. The damage begins in the hippocampus, which controls memory, and moves to other portions of the brain over time. This is why Alzheimer’s disease often starts with memory loss and then progresses to affect other cognitive functions such as judgment, reasoning, mood, and balance. Mayo Clinic has put together a very helpful overview of various Alzheimer’s symptoms, which you can access here. If you’d like to see a more visual representation, you can watch this interactive tour of the brain that explains which parts of the brain can cause various symptoms of dementia.
If you notice cognitive changes in yourself or someone you love, it’s imperative to find the cause of these changes since they may be reversible, and each type of dementia will evolve in a different way. If you’re not sure what is causing the changes, here's a helpful article about what next steps to take.
Or, if you were recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, read about how to respond to an Alzheimer's diagnosis here.
For more details on the differences between Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia, go to www. alz.org.No comments found.
Leave a Comment
Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder: Shedding Light on the Winter Blues
Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder: Shedding Light on the Winter Blues Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the winter blues, is a mood disorder that typically occurs during the winter months when there is less natural sunlight. This condition can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental and emotional well being, affecting everything from […]
November is National Home Care and Hospice Month
True Care Recognizes National Home Care and Hospice Month November is National Home Care and Hospice Month, a time to recognize and appreciate the vital role that home care and hospice services play in our communities. At True Care Home Care, we understand the importance of providing quality care for your loved ones in the […]
National Family Caregivers’ Month
National Family Caregivers’ Month is celebrated each November in the United States. It is a time to recognize and honor family caregivers across the country and raise awareness about caregiving issues. Family caregivers play a significant role in their loved ones’ health and well-being, and their contributions are crucial to both the recipients of care […]
Boost Your Health Literacy: Your Key to Quality Home Care
October is Health Literacy Month, and we at True Care are excited to talk about what health literacy is and how it applies to home care. While, at a bare-bones level, health literacy is about having the tools to understand health-related information, there is so much more to it that can help make your home […]
World Osteoporosis Day: Taking Care of Your Bones
World Osteoporosis Day: Taking Care of Your Bones Today, we’re shining a spotlight on a day that’s all about your bones – World Osteoporosis Day! Having just taken place on October 20th, World Osteoporosis Day is a day to appreciate and educate yourself about the significance of bone health. Just as you take care of […]