What’s the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s?
It’s a common question, But, the terms Alzheimer’s disease and dementia may mean two very different things. Dementia is a syndrome, not a disease. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke defines dementia as:
“… [A] word for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. It is not a specific disease. People with dementia may not be able to think well enough to do normal activities, such as getting dressed or eating. They may lose their ability to solve problems or control their emotions. Their personalities may change. They may become agitated or see things that are not there.”
Dementia is an umbrella term that Alzheimer’s disease can fall under. Alzheimer’s disease is responsible for about 50 to 70 percent of all cases of dementia, but many different diseases can cause dementia.
Other Forms of Dementia:
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)
- Dementia with Lewy Bodies
- Frontotemporal Dementia
- Huntington’s Disease
- Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Vascular Dementia
- Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome
Besides disease other causes of dementia include:
- infections, such as HIV
- vascular diseases
- chronic drug use
People can have more than one type of dementia. This is known as mixed dementia. Often, people with mixed dementia have multiple conditions that may contribute to dementia. A diagnosis of mixed dementia can only be confirmed in an autopsy.
The World Health Organization says that 47.5 million people around the world are living with dementia. Whether Alzheimer’s or some other cause, dementia is a frightening prospect for all and a reality for many. In our next post, we will talk about differentiating between normal age related incidents versus signs of a more a serious problem.
Seniors Helping Seniors of North and East Raleigh is owned and operated by dementia certified practitioners and participates in the effort to obtain a dementia friendly community status for the Wake Forest community. If you have questions or need help, visit our website inhomecarenc.com or call 919.761.5346.
Kathy is a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) who is active in several other senior related organizations, including Alzheimer’s State Champion program, Friends of the Northern Wake Senior Center board member, Ambassador for the Rolesville Chamber of Commerce, Aging Life Care Association (ALCA), Health Affairs Round Table (HART), and Senior Information Networking Group (SING).