“My husband doesn’t have Alzheimer’s. He has
dementia. That isn’t as bad as Alzheimer’s Disease.”
In both the classroom and clinical arena, I often encounter confusion between the two terms. “Dementia” refers to an ongoing, permanent, and worsening memory problem. Alzheimer’s Disease, Vascular Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, and Frontal-temporal Dementia are ALL types of dementia. One way to think about this is to talk about cars. If I ask you, “What kind of car do you drive?”, you may respond by saying, “Honda,” or “Ford.” So, car refers to any type of gas-powered, multi-person vehicle; Ford or Honda refers to a specific make, or type, of a car. We can even get more specific and discuss models within a specific make. You may not only own a Ford, but you may drive a Ford Fusion, a Ford Explorer, or a Ford Mustang (lucky you!). Some dementias have subtypes, just like makes have models. Frontal-temporal dementia, for example, has 2 common subtypes: behavioral variant and primary progressive aphasia.
All cars have one thing in common: they are powered by an engine that moves the wheels. All of the dementias have one thing in common: brain shrinkage (also known as neurodegeneration). What differs between the dementias are the patterns of brain shrinkage and the underlying reasons for the brain (or nerve cell) damage.
Ready to “meet” the dementias? Click on each to read more!
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Vascular Dementia
- Lewy Body Dementia
- Parkinson’s Disease Dementia
- Frontal-temporal Dementia