Many people think that Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are interchangeable terms for the same medical condition. This is not the case. Dementia is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of conditions associated with memory loss. Alzheimer’s disease, on the other hand, is a specific type of dementia. Let’s look at some of the similarities and differences between the two.
The causes and symptoms of dementia.
Dementia, in general, is caused by damage to cells in the brain resulting in the damaged cells inability to function the way they normally would. There are a variety of factors that can lead to brain cell damage, and these factors are what often distinguish one type of dementia from another. For instance, what is known as vascular dementia is typically caused by a stroke, whereas Lewy body dementia is caused by protein deposits (Lewy bodies) forming in sections of the brain responsible for memory, thinking, and motor control. Unfortunately, scientists do not know what causes Lewy bodies to form in the first place.
While the symptoms of dementia vary from one case to the next, they may include:
- Loss of memory
- Difficulty with planning and organization
- An inability to perform complicated tasks
- Agitation and paranoia
- Spatial and visual challenges
Next time, we’ll discuss the causes and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.