How Does Alzheimer's Differ from Other Types of Dementia?

by Christine Kennard Health Professional

Technically speaking there is no such disease as dementia. The term dementia actually refers to a group of symptoms that accompany certain diseases or conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease. Various medical conditions can cause or result in
dementia. Some are reversible while others can lead to more permanent states of dementia. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia but there over 200 variants. Alzheimer's accounts for about 70 per cent of all cases and affects about 5.3 million Americans.

In this sharepost I give information and links for more information on how Alzheimer's differs from
other types of dementia namely; vascular dementia, Lewy Body dementia, Pick's disease, dementia due to HIV/AIDS, dementia caused by traumatic head injury, Huntington's disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and alcohol related dementia.

How Vascular Dementia Differs from Alzheimer's

Vascular dementia (VaD), the second most common form of dementia, used to be known as multi-infarct dementia. VaD is caused by brain damage due to strokes. Like Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia is progressive but the symptoms begin far more rapidly.

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How Does Vascular Dementia Differ from Alzheimer's?

How Dementia with Lewy Bodies Differs from Alzheimer's

Lewy body dementia is increasingly being seen as one of the most common forms of dementia. Lewy bodies are abnormal protein deposits found in the brain. Symptoms can be difficult to distinguish from Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

Lewy body dementia is progressive and with fluctuating cognitive symptoms.

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How does Lewy Body dementia differ from Alzheimer's?

How Pick's Disease Differs from Alzheimer's

Pick's disease, is a rare form of dementia that affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. The clinical picture is fairly similar to Alzheimer's but differences can be detected at autopsy.

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How does Pick's disease differ from Alzheimer's?

How Dementia Associated with HIV/AIDS Differs from Alzheimer's

Infectious diseases such as HIV and AIDS, meningitis, viral encephalitis, advanced neurosyphilis, parasitic diseases, Prion diseases such as Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease CJD and Kuru may all lead to dementia.

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How does HIV/AIDS dementia differ from Alzheimer's?

How Dementia Caused by Traumatic Head Injury Differs from Alzheimer's

Dementia due to head injury is comparatively rare and accounts for less than 5% of cases. Brain trauma can not only cause dementia, it has also been linked to a higher incidence of Alzheimer's disease following a serious TBI, though this link remains controversial.

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How does Dementia Due to Traumatic Head Injury Differ from Alzheimer's?

How Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) Differs from Alzheimer's

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) has symptoms that often include spasms of the body. This disease is caused by a slow-acting virus that can live in the body for years before any signs of the disease become obvious. Once the signs of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease become apparent its progress is rapid.

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How does Creuzfeldt-Jacob disease differ from Alzheimer's?

How Huntington's Disease Differs from Alzheimer's

Huntington's disease is an inherited progressive form of dementia which causes personality, memory and mood changes as the disease advances. Children of people with Huntington's have a 50%
chance of getting the disease themselves.

Signs and symptoms include progressive problems of lack of coordination, mood and muscular control, irritability, anxiety, depression, mood swings, forgetfulness, clumsiness, involuntary twitching, problems with thinking, concentration and short term memory.

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How does Huntington's disease differ from Alzheimer's?

How Alcohol Dementia Differs from Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive and fatal brain disease that causes devastating brain damage. We do know that alcoholics are at greater risk of dementia and that in four to 20% of cases of dementia, alcohol plays a role. In alcohol-related dementia cognitive problems result from the toxic effects of alcohol on the liver and the brain and from secondary damage to other organs that occur as a result of alcohol abuse, such as vitamin deficiency, malnutrition, increased risk of stroke and head injury.

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How does alcohol related dementia differ from Alzheimer's?


Christine Kennard
Meet Our Writer
Christine Kennard

Christine Kennard wrote about Alzheimer's for HealthCentral. She has many years of experience in private and public sector nursing care homes for people with dementia. She has worked in a variety of hospital, public and private health settings and specialized in community nursing. Christine is qualified in group analytic psychotherapy, is registered in general and mental health nursing and has a Masters degree.