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What is the Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease? 

September 20, 2022

Dementia is a general term that describes a loss of abilities that can make it hard to remember, think clearly, make decisions, or even control your emotions.

This may sound a lot like normal aging, but it’s not. It’s why early dementia signs can be missed. And why it’s important to let your doctor know if you are experiencing any of these signs. Sharing information about your symptoms, medication and alcohol use, and previous illnesses help your doctor make the right diagnosis.


So what’s the difference? 

If you think of dementia as a group of symptoms, Alzheimer’s is one of many diseases that can cause it. That’s right, many things can cause dementia, and some chronic diseases can mimic dementia.


Alzheimer’s disease:

The most common cause of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that gradually impairs thinking and memory abilities as well as the capacity to do the most basic tasks. Small memory loss is usually the first symptom; over time, the disease worsens, and one may not recognize their loved ones.


Vascular dementia: 

Vascular dementia occurs when there is not enough blood going to your brain. This is the second most common type of dementia and can be caused by mini-strokes that lead to brain bleeding or damage to blood vessels. Different from Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia’s early symptoms are different based on the area of the brain that is affected like problems with decision-making.


Lewy body dementia: 

Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a form of progressive dementia. It’s caused by the decay of the tissues in the brain and sometimes may be genetic. The primary indicator of DLB is a worsening decline in things like thinking and problem-solving. The level of decline will be one that can prevent a person’s ability to perform daily tasks.


Get the Care you Need

Experiencing memory lapses can be frightening. The Memory Clinic in our Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center is designed to help patients with memory issues find answers. We accept new patients with referrals from primary care providers or other specialists.


If you don’t have a doctor, Grady can help. If you need a primary care physician, book your appointment online at, use MyChart, or call (404) 616-1000. We’ll arrange an appointment at a Primary Care Center near you. Doctors there can treat most conditions and provide access to Grady’s unparalleled medical specialty expertise.

Old Man Worried About Dementia


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