The difference between Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia

It is a common misconception that Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are the same. In fact the two diagnoses, although related, are quite different. It is very possible to have a form of dementia that is not at all related to Alzheimer’s disease, however this is the most common cause.

We associate the two with ageing, which often is the case, however, both Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can affect younger people too.  The risk does however increase as we age.

Dementia is not a disease but a collection of symptoms which ultimately affects mental tasks such as thinking, memory and reasoning. As dementia progresses it starts to impact on the person’s ability to function independently.  Some forms of dementia are reversible or even temporary.

Alzheimer’s is a disease of the brain that slowly impairs memory & cognitive function. There is no exact cause and sadly no cure has been found yet. Damage to the brain begins years before symptoms may start to show.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s include impaired thought, impaired speech, and confusion. Doctors use different ways to determine if someone has Alzheimer’s which includes blood tests, mental status evaluations and brain scans. Alzheimer’s is unfortunately not a reversible disease.

The best way in which to help someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is spending time with them, talking to them, reading and stimulating their minds and most importantly to shower them with lots of love and care.