Alzheimer’s vs Dementia: What’s the Difference?

It can be challenging to distinguish the difference between Alzheimer’s vs dementia when you often hear them in the same context.

Are you researching for a loved one, yourself, or are you merely curious? Here we’ll describe the ways that Alzheimer’s and dementia differ from each other.

Both conditions are usually onset by the aging process. Yet, they are not typical nor reflective of the natural aging process. Many people will experience slight memory loss and brain inefficiency as they age. However, dementia and Alzheimer’s are not something that all people will experience.


The best way to remember the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is that dementia is a generalized term. Alzheimer’s can be one of the causes of dementia, though there are several others. Dementia describes any decline in mental ability. This is including, but not limited to, memory loss.

Dementia is any reduction in cognitive ability that affects your day to day life. The symptoms can anything from personality changes to impaired reasoning. Other common symptoms are disorientation, disorganization, and language impairment. Dementia patients can also suffer from mood change, personality change, or memory loss.

While Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, there are others. These include vascular dementia, alcohol-related dementia, Parkinson’s dementia, and frontotemporal dementia. The cause of each is different but results in permanent and worsening damage to brain cells.

Another key difference between the two is that dementia is a syndrome, not a disease. Syndromes are classified by a group of symptoms that occur together. The ones mentioned above would be symptoms associated with the syndrome of dementia.


Alzheimer’s disease causes dementia, but dementia does not cause Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is a condition that results from the onset of dementia. It is the most common condition associated with dementia and is caused by proteins and fibers that block and destroy nerve cells in the brain.

People with Alzheimer’s disease experience memory loss and difficulty remembering. It is a progressive disease, which means it gets worse over time. So, those diagnosed will often experience a significant mental decline over time and require continuing care. For help finding care for someone with Alzheimer’s visit for more information.

Chances of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis usually increase as people age. It usually affects people over the age of 65, though there are cases of early-onset Alzheimer’s. Younger patients typically result from familial genetic mutations.

To diagnose Alzheimer’s, doctors usually analyze results from memory tests. They can also tell by looking at the patient’s progression of symptoms. For a clear diagnosis, doctors can also perform a PET scan or cerebrospinal fluid testing. There is no way to cure or treat Alzheimer’s disease right now; however, doctors can treat the symptoms.

Alzheimer’s vs Dementia

Understanding the difference between Alzheimer’s vs dementia is vital. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, contact a doctor. Early detection can improve yours or a loved one’s quality of life.

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