The Difference Between Alzheimer's and Dementia
Dementia: The Symptoms
When we talk about dementia, we are talking about symptoms. The term “dementia” describes a set of symptoms that includes things like memory loss, trouble behaving appropriately in social situations, difficulty speaking or understanding language, negative changes in mood and demeanor, and so forth. If a doctor says that a patient has dementia, what the doctor means is that the patient is showing some of these symptoms.
Alzheimer's Disease: The Diagnosis
Dementia has many different causes, and Alzheimer’s disease is one cause of dementia. Using a variety of tests, like blood tests, psychological test, and brain scans, doctors can home in on what may be causing dementia in a particular patient. Sometimes, the answer is that Alzheimer’s is causing the dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is responsible for around two-thirds of all dementia cases. But there are many other causes of dementia as well.
Other Causes of Dementia
The second most common cause, after Alzheimer’s, is called Lewy body dementia. Parkinson’s disease is another cause. Having a stroke can cause vascular dementia–a dementia that is a result of a lack of blood flow to the brain. Of course because the brain is complex, it’s rare that a person has strictly one cause of dementia with no overlap; for example, Lewy body dementia often overlaps with Alzheimer’s disease and/or Parkinson’s disease.
There are many other, more rare causes of dementia as well, like Huntington’s disease, which is genetically inherited, as well as dementia caused by repetitive brain injury, like you might find in a boxer or football player. Even rarer, dementia can also occur because of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (“Mad Cow”.)
Some types of dementias are temporary and reversible. These include dementias caused by poor nutrition, a reaction to a medication, infection, poisoning, tumors, or brain bleeds. In these cases, once the thing causing the dementia is gone, the patient can usually recover normally without symptoms.
There is no sure-fire way to prevent dementia. However, certain lifestyle choices may be useful. According to the Mayo Clinic, keeping your mind and body active, maintaining a healthy social life, lowering blood pressure, quitting smoking, and eating right might help delay dementia, though much more research needs to be done. One way to keep your mind active is to use BrainHQ, clinically proven to enhance memory, attention, and processing speed.