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Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s….Is there a Difference?

Dementia is a term that is frequently used to describe memory loss. There is a misconception among many people that dementia is a normal part of aging.

Dementia is a term that is frequently used to describe memory loss.  There is a misconception among many people that dementia is a normal part of aging.  Many of our healthy aging population retain normal cognition well into their elder years.  Although we all feel the affects of aging which is demonstrated by diminished hearing and vision, mental processing may slow as well. However, the losses that occur with a diagnosis of dementia are more profound and are a result of a disease process.

Dementia is a condition of progressive, global deterioration of memory and cognition that impairs thought and social functioning.  There are many causes of dementia.  The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.  Other causes of reversible dementia are vitamin B-12 deficiency, thyroid disease and prolonged alcohol abuse.

Other nonreversible diseases that can cause dementia are vascular disease, Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, Lewy Body dementia and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.  Because of the various causes of dementia, it is most important to see a physician for an accurate diagnosis.  This diagnosis may affect the type of treatment that the physician may prescribe.  Early detection, regardless of the cause of dementia, is beneficial to the patient and the family so that correct treatment can occur and the family can access resources and education regarding the diagnosis.  For more information please contact the Alzheimer’s Association: 970-472-9798 or www.alz.org/co

This article was written by Emmalie Conner, M.S. and reviewed in June, 2014 by Kate FahrenbruchNorthern Colorado Regional Director, Alzheimer's Association.   

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Donna (Brumbaugh) Forbes
Donna (Brumbaugh) Forbes
American Elder Advocates, LLC
PO Box 3122
Loveland, CO 80534
970-744-4526

Expertise:
Care Management

Email Donna (Brumbaugh) Forbes