Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s

| Fuel For Thought® 

Those of us at Cognate Nutritionals, makers of Fuel For Thought®, know that medical terminology can be confusing. We think it may be helpful to our readers to explain what is meant by dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Many people use the two terms − dementia and Alzheimer’s − as interchangeable. But the two are not the same. What is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s? Dementia is a symptom or a group of symptoms; Alzheimer’s is a disease. However, the differences go beyond that simple distinction, and the links between the two are clear.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 35.6 million people around the world are living with dementia. The hallmark of dementia is a decline in cognitive function, such as memory and reasoning. In its early stages, the signs of dementia are mild. People can be forgetful or lose their way in even familiar surroundings. As dementia progresses, the forgetfulness and problems of confusion grow and become more frustrating.

Obvious signs of dementia, according to Medline, include:

  • repeating questions
  • a disinterest in basic hygiene
  • poor decision-making


Dementia can be a symptom of diseases other than Alzheimer’s. Many people in the later stages of Parkinson’s disease or Huntington’s disease, for example, experience dementia. Vascular diseases, stroke, and injury can also cause dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease, a neurodegenerative disease, accounts for 50 to 70 percent of all cases of dementia. According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, “In Alzheimer’s disease, the connections between brain cells as well as the brain cells themselves degenerate and die, causing a steady decline in memory and mental function.”

Like dementia, the symptoms of early Alzheimer’s are mild problems with memory and disorientation. The signs also include the individual repeating questions, phrases, and even whole stories without noticing that he or she had said them just an hour or even moments before.

Other signs, according to the Mayo Clinic, include:

  • Forgetting conversations, appointments or events, and not remembering them later
  • Routinely misplacing possessions, often putting them in illogical locations
  • Eventually forgetting the names of family members and everyday objects
  • Losing the ability to name the day or even the season
  • Having trouble finding the right words
  • Having difficulty doing math and other abstract thinking

Personalities also can change. People with Alzheimer’s may experience:

  • Depression
  • Social withdrawal
  • Mood swings
  • Distrust in others
  • Irritability and aggressiveness
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Wandering
  • Loss of inhibitions
  • Delusions, such as believing something has been stolen

If you are concerned about dementia or Alzheimer’s, consult a medical professional for help. It’s important to get guidance from your doctor and seek support if Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is suspected. It is also important to learn if other conditions may be present, which could have similar symptoms. Some of these, which may be treatable, include high blood pressure, diabetes and hormonal imbalances.

Share your thoughts about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by posting a comment below.

Keeping your brain supplied with high-quality fuel is important.  Those of who enjoy Fuel For Thought® get much-needed fuel for our brains − coconut oil and MCTs (medium chain triglycerides)− in a delicious convenient drink. For more information on Fuel For Thought®, visit our website at www://

(photo by Pixabay)