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Alzheimer's vs. Dementia: What's the difference?

A woman with whom I work is questioning whether the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is correct for her father. I agreed that, from different things she's mentioned to me about her dad, I've wondered, too, if he actually had AD, or if it was vascular or another type of dementia (he'd had a stroke). I asked what type of doctor he'd seen, and suggested a specialist, since he'd seen only his family physician. After the one physician diagnosed him with Alzheimer's, they put him on medication to slow the disease, though he still entered a nursing home. In a week, my friend will take her dad to a neurologist and they will run some tests.

So, for general purposes, what is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer's disease?  David Roeltgen, MD, wrote a good, understandable article on this subject for ouralzheimers.com. If you're interested in an overview, I suggest you click here and read "The Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease."

Comments

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Thanks, Bob. It's good to hear from you, as always.

I just found this January article on your blog and couldn't resist commenting on the importance of this topic. I am frequently reminded of the confusion felt about this issue by readers of my book, "Dementia Diary, A Caregiver's Journal."
I'm not a physician, so my answers are not as scientific as the excellent article by Dr. Roeltgen. However, I've had good feedback to my "layman's" perspective as expressed in my own article posted on the blog on my website: http://www.dementia-diary.com
My article entitled: "Comparing Alzheimer's With Other Dementias" may be of interest to your readers.

Terrific blog Carol. Keep up the good work.

Yeah, you are so right! Vitamin deficiencies, low-grade infections, all kinds of things can simulate dementia, not to mention drug side-effects. Nice to hear from you, Lisa.
Carol

You just have to use a specialist for elderly patients. Something as minor as a bladder infection can masquerade as dementia!

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