Often there is confusion over how to define Alzheimer's and Dementia and how they relate to each. To properly treat patients it's important to know the distinction. Not only so the right treatment goes to the right patient at the right time, but so the patients' family and friends have a better idea as to what to expect.
To define the differences we can start with some simple classification. Dementia is a syndrome which means it is a set of symptoms that don't point to a singular cause. Specifically, Dementia is a syndrome where a combination of issues arise include memory, daily activities, and communication problems. Since syndromes aren't a direct link to a diagnosis, there are many diseases that cause Dementia in patients.
Alzheimer's is underneath the umbrella of Dementia, in that, Alzheimer's is one of many diseases that cause Dementia. Some other diseases include, but aren't limited to, Huntington's, Parkinson's, Lewy Bodies, and Vascular Dementia. Each cause Dementia in a slightly different way from different sources. For instance, Lewy Bodies Dementia involves visual hallucinations and sleep disturbances. It's also important to note a patient can have multiple sources referred to as Mixed Dementia.
Alzheimer's is not reversible but some causes of Dementia can be reversed. It's important to understand the distinctions, and furthermore, which treatment is best.
Please contact a Physician if you have any quedstions.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia: What's the Difference?
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein, MD on December 26, 2016
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