1 Fact Almost Everyone Gets Wrong About Dementia
It is safe to assume that most people have heard of the condition of dementia. In society, it is commonly associated with memory loss and older age. But did you know that over 90% of the general population is mistaken about one important dementia-related fact?
In the U.S., it is common to use the terms Dementia and Alzheimers Disease interchangeably. But did you know that these two terms are actually not the same?
Unlike Alzheimers Disease, dementia is an umbrella term that describes a large variety of conditions. Of these conditions, Alzheimers Disease, is a subtype (and if you look at the umbrella graphic, you can see that there are even different types of Alzheimers).
So, while Alzheimers is a form or type of dementia, it does not encompass all types of dementia or progressive loss of cognitive function.
In fact, at the writing of this article, it is believed that there are over 120 different types of dementia (read more about some of the most common ones further down on this page).
So why does it matter to not use dementia and Alzheimers interchangeably?
Because by publicly acknowledging the fact that these two terms are not the same, you set the stage for increased public awareness that there are more dementias than just Alzheimers, thereby helping to shine the spotlight on the other, lesser-known forms.
And with increased public awareness about these other dementia types, you can help increase the chances of more accurate diagnoses for those affected, more funding for research, and more awareness about the need for condition-appropriate care partner skills.
Interested in learning more about the more common types of dementia?
Below you can find brief explanations by the Mayo Clinic as well as some content by Positive Approach to Care® about each of these more common types:
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disorder that causes brain cells to waste away (degenerate) and die. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia — a continuous decline in thinking, behavioral and social skills that disrupts a person's ability to function independently. (Source)
Watch the PAC Team talk about Alzheimers:
Lewy Body Dementia (LBD):
Lewy body dementia, also known as dementia with Lewy bodies, is the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer's disease dementia. Protein deposits, called Lewy bodies, develop in nerve cells in the brain regions involved in thinking, memory and movement (motor control). (Source)
Hear Teepa Snow talk about LBD in the Dementia Care Partner Talk Show:
Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD):
According to the Mayo Clinic, FTD is an umbrella term for a group of uncommon brain disorders that primarily affect the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. These areas of the brain are generally associated with personality, behavior and language. (Source)
Vascular dementia is a general term describing problems with reasoning, planning, judgment, memory and other thought processes caused by brain damage from impaired blood flow to your brain. (Source)
Listen to episode #48 of the Dementia Care Partner Talk Show Podcast: What is Unique and Challenging About Vascular Dementia