Mar 09, 2016 - 11:53 AM
Dementia is an "umbrella term," meaning it is not a disease but a group of symptoms such as difficulty with memory, attention, planning, problem solving, and other cognitive problems. Diseases that have these symptoms, such as Alzheimers, cause dementia. Many people use it interchangably, but dementia is always caused by the disease, which can include, but is not limited to Alzheimers, Parkinsons, thyroid issues, Huntington's Disease, medications, etc.
A good comparison would be if someone has a fever (compare that to the term dementia). It doesn't tell you what causes it and you need to treat it, but it is not the "problem." A virus (compare that to Alzheimers) would cause the fever.
Basically dementia is a symptom and Alzheimer's disease causes the symptoms.