Dementia vs Alzheimer's: What's the difference?

Although they're related, the two conditions aren't the same.

Dementia is a group of symptoms caused by changes in the brain, including:

  • Memory loss
  • Speech and language problems
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Confusion

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, and is responsible for 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases.

The disease prevents the brain's nerve cells from functioning properly, which can cause:

  • Serious memory problems
  • Mood and behavioral functions
  • Increased confusion when it comes to events, times and places
  • Trouble speaking, swallowing and walking
  • Unfounded suspicions about family, friends or caregivers

But not all dementia is caused by Alzheimer's. Other causes can include:

  • Parkinson's disease dementia
  • Brain injuries
  • Vascular dementia (which involves impaired blood flow to the brain)

Some causes of dementia-like symptoms are reversible, including nutritional deficiencies, infections and certain medications.

If you have memory loss that's affecting your daily routines, you're having trouble concentrating at work or home, or you have any of the symptoms above, see your doctor for a medical evaluation and further testing if needed.

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