Alzheimer’s Disease vs Dementia: What’s The Difference?

Alzheimer’s Disease vs Dementia: What’s The Difference?


Alzheimer’s Disease vs Dementia: What’s The Difference?

Is there really anything different, what should your know about Alzheimer’s Disease Vs Dementia? The terms “Alzheimer’s Disease” and “dementia” are often used interchangeably. But the truth is that while there are some similarities, the terms can refer to different conditions and symptoms. Up front, Dementia is a syndrome, not a disease.  Dementia is a group of symptoms which affects your brain’s performance for skills such as memory and problem solving. Dementia is an wide-umbrella term which includes Alzheimer’s disease  falls under. Dementia can occur due to a variety of conditions, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s disease.

A Video To Explain Alzheimer’s Disease Vs Dementia

A video published by the Trinity College Dublin compares the two, equating the difference as being similar to the comparison of asthma (Alzheimer’s disease) to shortness of breath (dementia).

Shortness of breath can be the result of a variety of factors, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Low blood pressure
  • Allergies
  • Heart problems (such as heart arrhythmias and pericarditis)

One of the underlying causes of dementia can also be Alzheimer’s disease,  Parkinson’s disease, vascular disease, stroke, infections etc.

It is important that the two be distinguished from one another.

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting up to 70% of all people with dementia in Australia. (Dementia Australia).

Alzheimer’s disease can be classified as either sporadic or familial.

Sporadic Alzheimer’s disease

  • Affects adults at any age, but usually occurs after age 65 and is the most common form of Alzheimer’s disease.

Familial Alzheimer’s disease

  • commonly affects adults at an earlier age and is associated with a very rare genetic condition. At the genetic level there is a mutation in one of several genes.

Explained: How Does Alzheimer’s Disease Change The Brain?

In this short 4min video by the NIH, explains how

the damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease initially appears to take place in the hippocampus, a key part of the brain involved in forming memories.

As the working units of the brain (neurons) die, further parts of the brain are affected. In the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease, the brain has been damaged significantly.

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are management strategies that can improve outcomes for these patients but which may not necessarily be helpful to dementia patients.

In some instances, dementia is more treatable than Alzheimer’s Disease, particularly because dementia is often due to one or more underlying causes which may respond well to treatment.

To learn more about the difference between Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia, please visit: NIH website which contains comprehensive information

Of course, at Occupational Therapy Brisbane we offer mobile occupational therapy services to patients and their families in the Brisbane area impacted by dementia.  To arrange for a consultation or in-home or in room assessment with one of our accomplished therapists, we invite you contact us online or call us today on 1300 783 200.

An OT Brisbane Special Invitation

If you’re not sure as to what are the next steps for you and you’re worried about your memory or want to be proactive about protecting your memory health, call OT Brisbane today to schedule a FREE 10 MINUTE Phone Consultation with a senior therapist to see if we can help. The memory health clinic is to help people prevent, treat and assess memory loss issues as well as provide dementia assessment and therapy services.  If you’re interested to see if we can help, please take advantage of our complimentary consult. To arrange this call the clinic on 1300 783 200 or simply fill out the form below.

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