What’s the Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

Many people think that Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia are the same. It’s certainly true that the two conditions do share a number of symptoms, but the terms are not interchangeable. Once you understand more about each condition, it’s easier to see how they are different. Here are some facts that will help you understand them both a little better.


Dementia Is More of a Term Than a Specific Condition

One of the first things you should know is that dementia is a term that can be used to identify a wide set of symptoms. Typically, those symptoms will include some impairment in cognitive thinking and memory issues. Rather than being a true condition, it’s more of the results of some type of ailment.

Dementia can come about due to a number of different causes. Alzheimer’s Disease is one of the possible causes. It can also be triggered by conditions like Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Reactions to medication can cause temporary dementia. Even injuries that affect the brain can lead to memory loss, disorientation, and difficulty in thinking logically. Depending on the underlying condition, the dementia may get better with medical treatment.


Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is among the causes of dementia, but it is more accurately referred to as a health condition or ailment. It helps to think of Alzheimer’s as being related to a specific type of dementia. Typically, this condition will include all the symptoms related to dementia, but include several others as well. Impaired speech, mental confusion, and sometimes even a decrease in motor skills are associated with this condition.


Temporary Versus a Permanent Situation

Along with recognizing that Alzheimer’s Disease is one of several potential causes of dementia, it helps to remember that dementia is not always permanent. A great deal depends on the underlying cause of the related symptoms and what can be done to manage or cure the cause.

Consider the example of a sore throat. Sore throats usually involve several symptoms, but the cause of those symptoms may vary. Even as the doctor seeks to alleviate the symptoms, the reason for their development is treated. In that scenario, it’s not just the sore throat that goes away. The condition that led to the symptoms also goes away.

The same holds true with some causes of dementia. Perhaps Parkinson’s Disease is the reason for the difficulty in cognitive thinking or the memory loss. There are medications and treatments that help to manage the illness up to a point. In many cases, effective treatments also reduce the severity of the memory loss and make it easier for the patient to think clearly.

If the cause of the dementia happens to be medication or a physical injury affecting cognition, changing the medication or eventually healing from the injury results in a restoration of memory and cognitive ability.

Alzheimer’s Disease is a permanent condition. At the present time, there is no way to reverse the illness. The patient will live with it for the rest of his or her life. At best, treatments may reduce the symptoms to a degree, but they will always be present.

Both conditions do require ongoing care. Depending on the severity, families may not be able to provide the level of support needed. That’s when seeking the services of assisted living / senior care facility like Prosperity Pointe in Knoxville, TN make sense. With their expertise in memory care, they can provide patients with a safe and comfortable place to live and enjoy the years they have left.