Alzheimer's and dementia: What's the difference?
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Mar 26, 2020.
These terms are often used interchangeably, but they actually have very different meanings. Dementia is not a specific disease. It's an overall term, sometimes referred to as an umbrella term, which describes a wide range of symptoms. These symptoms impact a person's ability to perform everyday activities independently. Common symptoms include:
- A decline in memory
- Changes in thinking skills
- Poor judgment and reasoning skills
- Decreased focus and attention
- Changes in language and communication skills
Alzheimer's disease is one type of dementia, but it's not the only one. There are many different types and causes of dementia, including:
- Lewy body dementia
- Frontotemporal dementia
- Vascular dementia
- Parkinson's disease dementia
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
- Huntington's disease
- Mixed dementia
Alzheimer's disease, however, is the most well-known and common form of dementia but not everyone with dementia has Alzheimer's disease.