What is the relationship between Alzheimer’s and dementia?
Answered by Karen Garner
It is a comfort to be able to talk to people who share this (not to be crude) nightmare of living. My question: Is it Mild Dementia, Dementia or Alzheimer’s? Why do people keep putting the terms together? I understand one leads to the other, right? But I thought Alzheimer’s is worse and comes later. Confused.
This is such a good question, because even in the medical community many do not understand the differences between dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia. This is a great description I found on the Alzheimer’s Association website:
Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases. Vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke, is the second most common dementia type. But there are many other conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia, including some that are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.
Dementia is often incorrectly referred to as “senility” or “senile dementia,” which reflects the formerly widespread but incorrect belief that serious mental decline is a normal part of aging.
I know most people diagnosed with a form of dementia have an initial diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment, usually because there are symptoms of a form of dementia, but it isn’t quite clear yet which type the patient will eventually be diagnosed with.