Alzheimer’s Versus Dementia

When discussing Alzheimer’s versus dementia, it’s important to note that they are not terms that should be used interchangeably.  Learn more about what distinguishes the two and why knowing the difference is vital.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia – How They’re Similar Yet Different

To understand how Alzheimer’s and dementia overlap, we must first understand them individually.

  • Dementia is not a specific disease, but an umbrella term used to help categorize those dealing with impairment to their cognitive functioning to such a level that it interferes with daily life. The inability to think, remember, or reason in day-to-day activities, ranging in severity depending on the stage of the affected person. Many forms of dementia exist, and various conditions cause it, such as Alzheimer’s.
  • Alzheimer’s is a specific disorder targeting memory and thinking skills and eventually affects the ability to perform straightforward tasks. Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia in older adults, hence the intersection. Alzheimer’s disease makes up 60-80% of dementia cases.

Cartoon woman holding elderly lady who is having memory difficulty.

Shared Symptoms and What Separates the Two 

Below are some of the commonly shared symptoms between Alzheimer’s and dementia.

  • Memory loss (both short-term and long-term)
  • Difficulty involving problem-solving, thinking, and language serious enough to impact daily life and function
  • Confusion and forgetfulness

Various symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease overlap with dementia, but there are differences to note. Hundreds of forms of dementia exist, which is why symptoms can vary. Some types affect other parts of the brain, meaning symptoms are often presented differently in someone with Alzheimer’s versus someone with another form of dementia. For example, in its early stages, frontotemporal dementia typically deals with personality changes due to its effect on the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, which are locations typically associated with behavior and personality disorders.  Although Alzheimer’s disease generally impacts the entire brain, the most common symptom shown is memory loss which can be associated with damage to the hippocampus.

Healthy brain VS brain with alzheimer's

Make a Change Today to Impact Tomorrow

While there is no foolproof prevention at this moment, research has taken notice of encouraging evidence. Increased physical activity, monitoring of blood pressure, and cognitive training have all shown beneficial results. Something as simple as physical activity promotes independence, aids in reducing falls, and lowers risks of depression and other health conditions like high blood pressure.

Cartoon image of doctors studying the brain.

Suspect that you or a loved one may be struggling with Alzheimer’s? At North Georgia Clinical Research, we’re currently looking for individuals to join our Alzheimer’s prevention studies; click here to learn more and apply. For further information and updates, call us at (678) 494–5735 or visit our website to learn more today!