What is Dementia?

Many people ask us, “what is the difference between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia?” Or “What is dementia?” Those are good questions, and the answers are actually pretty simple.

Dementia is a set of symptoms, or, a kind of disease that affects the brain. Generally, dementia diseases produce a decline in mental ability, including the loss of short- and long-term memory.

There are many different types of dementia, and each affect the brain in a different way.  Alzheimer’s disease is one type of dementia, frontotemporal dementia is another, and vascular dementia is another. All of these specific diseases may be referred to as “dementia,” but really are a specific disease with specific causes and impacts on the brain. If someone you knew told you that they had cancer, you would expect them to also tell you what kind of cancer, right? Same with dementia, there are many different kinds.

The Alzheimer’s Association has listed the most common types of dementia and their characteristics.  You can find the list on their website here.