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What Is The Difference Between Alzheimer’s And Dementia?

Dementia and Alzheimer's BestLivingTech

Terms such as Alzheimer’s and dementia are often used interchangeably when describing any type of memory loss. There is also the widespread assumption that each case of memory loss can either be an Alzheimer’s disease or a certain type of dementia. Memory loss can also be the result of a person’s natural aging process.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is just one out of the several types of dementia. It’s the most common type of dementia, and it accounts for 50 to 70 percent of all dementia cases. This type has no cure, comes with pronounced symptoms and eventually leads the affected person to his death. Impaired speech, an inability to recognize loved ones and the inability to process language and numbers and all common symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

People who are suffering with Alzheimer’s disease have difficulty in performing multiple tasks at once. They tend to exhibit confusion and mood changes. They easily misplace things and will never be able to recall them. Also, places that were once familiar to them aren’t any longer.


Dementia refers to the various symptoms that adversely affect a person’s memory and thinking. Apart from Alzheimer’s disease, other types of dementia include vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. In cases when dementia has resulted from medications or vascular conditions, using medical treatments can improve the said symptoms.

People who are affected with dementia show difficulty in absorbing new information. They lose the ability to use symbols and maps. Processing any written or spoken work can also be challenging. Certain difficulty in spatial processing is also evident in terms of judging the distance between themselves and other objects. They also find it difficult to reason or solve problems.

Mixed Dementia

Mixed dementia is a terminology that refers to someone who has more than one type of dementia. The most common is someone who exhibits symptoms of both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. The latter is a type of dementia that occurs as a result of a blood clot which prevents the blood to flow normally to the parts of the brain. This leads to the death of the brain cells that cause memory loss, difficulty in focusing, confusion and other symptoms. The risk of acquiring vascular dementia is greater among people who have a history of certain conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Mixed dementia can also refer to a combination of Alzheimer’s disease and a different type of dementia. At times, doctors would refer to the condition as dementia-multifactorial. People with mixed dementia usually display the same symptoms brought by Alzheimer’s disease. Symptoms of mixed dementia tend to progress faster or show manifestations earlier. Since the brain is affected by more than one form of dementia, the damage is seen in more than one area of the brain.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and currently, mixed dementia has no approved drugs for its treatment. However,  mixed dementia patients are responding favorably to most of the prescribed medications meant for treating Alzheimer’s disease.

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Lisa Cini

Lisa M. Cini is the Founder, President and CEO of Mosaic Design Studio. A global commercial design, project management and procurement company, Mosaic’s mission is to "Improve Quality of Life By Design." Lisa is regarded as the leading Alzheimer's and long-term care design expert in the nation, and has been recognized for her contributions in the field. Lisa is most gratified by helping people who are struggling with Alzheimer’s, find ways to cope as individuals, as families, and as communities.

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