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Difference between Alzheimer's and Dementia

  • The terms “dementia” and “Alzheimer’s” are often used interchangeably. While they are related, there are distinct differences between the two.
  • Dementia is the umbrella term for an individual’s changes in memory, thinking or reasoning.
  • There are many possible causes of dementia, including Alzheimer’s
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases.
  • Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging — it is a progressive brain disease.
  • Two abnormal brain structures called plaques and tangles are the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, and are thought to damage and kill nerve cells.
  • Plaques are deposits of a protein fragment called beta-amyloid that build up in the spaces between nerve cells. Tangles are twisted fibers of another protein called tau that build up inside cells.
  • Other common dementias are: Vascular dementia, Dementia with Lewy bodies, Frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

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