Dementia is a broad term that refers to a syndrome or a set of symptoms associated with a decline in cognitive function. It encompasses various cognitive impairments, including memory loss, difficulties with problem-solving, language, and changes in behavior. Dementia is not a specific disease; rather, it is a collective term for a range of conditions that lead to cognitive decline. These conditions can be caused by different underlying factors, such as neurological disorders, vascular problems, infections, and more. It is important to understand that dementia is not a normal part of the aging process but rather a result of an underlying medical issue.
Alzheimer’s disease, on the other hand, is a specific and prevalent cause of dementia. It is a progressive and degenerative brain disorder that accounts for about 60-70% of all dementia cases. Alzheimer’s disease primarily affects memory and thinking skills. The condition is characterized by the buildup of abnormal protein deposits in the brain, including beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles. These deposits interfere with the brain’s communication and cause the gradual decline in cognitive function. Alzheimer’s disease typically progresses through different stages, starting with mild memory problems and eventually leading to severe impairments in daily functioning.