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Dementia vs. Alzheimer's: Clearing the Confusion


Posted on December 10, 2009 by DementiaGuide

Dementia vs. Alzheimer's

Clearing the Confusion

Dementia vs. Alzheimer's: It's an ongoing point of confusion. It is common for patients and caregivers to confuse dementia and Alzheimer's as one and the same. Each time a family member is suffering from memory loss, the conclusion is usually Alzheimer's. The truth is that it is unreasonable to label all dementias as Alzheimer's.

How will you know if a person is suffering from dementia vs. Alzheimer's?

It is important to compare dementia vs. Alzheimer's disease to realize the differences between the two conditions. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia marked by memory loss in older people. Dementia is the gradual loss of intellectual function. Alzheimer's statistics show that the disease can strike a person as early as 45, while dementia generally takes hold after age 70.

What is Alzheimer's dementia?

Alzheimer's dementia is a neurological disorder characterized by a progressive and irreversible cognitive decline associated with impairment in functioning. The cognitive deterioration consists of memory impairment. Initially there is recent memory impairment but as the disease progresses, even the long term memory is affected.

Comparing the Two

When comparing dementia vs. Alzheimer's disease it is very important to discuss the differences between the two diseases. Although they have many similarities, there are a number of differences that must be noted.

Alzheimer's disease is defined as a form of dementia characterized by the gradual loss of several important mental functions. Another way to compare dementia vs. Alzheimer's disease is to realize that dementia is a medical term used to describe a number of conditions characterized by the gradual loss of intellectual function. Certain symptoms of dementia include memory impairment, increased language difficulties, decreased motor skills, failure to recognized or identify objects, and disturbance of the ability to plan or think abstractly.

Alzheimer's dementia is only one type of dementia and it's important to understand that not all dementias are Alzheimer's. Aside from Alzheimer's disease, other dementias exist such as Dementia with lewy body, Vascular dementia, Parkinson's disease with dementia, and dementias due to various neurologic and medical conditions.

Determining the differences of dementia vs. Alzheimer's

One way of determining the difference of dementia vs. Alzheimer's is knowing when the onset of the disease was first noticed. Of course, this is a very difficult thing since the progression of both is very gradual, and often there is no one point where someone can say, "Aha!" and know that the disease has taken hold. Often the onset of Alzheimer's can occur as early as 45 years of age. General dementia, however, usually is noted later in life, perhaps in the 70 to 80 year range.

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