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The Difference Between Alzheimer's & Dementia

May 19, 2016

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are often used interchangeably. This can cause a lot of confusion and lead to a lot of anxiety. And if you don’t know the difference, you’re not alone. A loved one with dementia, may not have Alzheimer’s disease at all.


The first thing to recognize is that dementia is not a single disease - it is a group of symptoms that affect mental abilities such as memory and reasoning. When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, that does not necessarily mean they have Alzheimer’s, in the same way that someone with a cough and congestion, does not necessarily have a cold. Although Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, responsible for up to 70% of dementia sufferers, there can be other causes such as vascular dementia, which can and should be treated differently by your doctor.


Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible brain disorder that leads to symptoms such as memory loss, confusion, disorientation and impaired judgement. Dementia in Alzheimer’s patients usually occurs years after brain damage begins, showing symptoms such as a declining memory, losing track of time, and getting lost in familiar surroundings.


There are tests that can be run to help determine what the causes of dementia symptoms are such as blood tests, brain scans, and mental health evaluations.


If the diagnosis is vascular dementia, your doctor will prescribe medication and behavior modifications that could potentially halt any further damage by helping to prevent additional blockages.


Hammonton Center is part of the Centers Healthcare family; New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island’s premier group of skilled nursing, rehabilitation and senior care services. To speak to a healthcare specialist and find out more about Hammonton Center, contact us by phone 24/7 at 609.567.3100, or visit us at 43 N. White Horse Pike Hammonton, NJ08037.


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