World Alzheimer’s Month: what is the difference between Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia - symptoms explained

More than 850,000 people in the UK have dementia

Dementia is a syndrome associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning.

There are many different causes of dementia, and many different types, but what’s the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s, and what are the symptoms?

More than 850,000 people in the UK have dementia

Here’s what you need to know.

What’s the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia?

Dementia is the name for a group of symptoms associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning. It can affect memory, thinking skills and other mental abilities.


Dementia is not only about memory loss as it can also affect the way you speak, think, feel and behave.

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia and, together with vascular dementia, makes up the majority of cases, the NHS said.

According to the NHS, research shows there are more than 850,000 people in the UK who have dementia. One in 14 people over the age of 65 have dementia, and the condition affects one in six people over 80.

The number of people with dementia is increasing because people are living longer, with it being estimated that by 2025, the number of people with dementia in the UK will be more than one million.

What are the symptoms of dementia?


Dementia symptoms may include problems with:

  • memory loss
  • thinking speed
  • mental sharpness and quickness
  • language, such as using words incorrectly, or trouble speaking
  • understanding
  • judgement
  • mood
  • movement
  • difficulties doing daily activities

What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition, which means the symptoms develop gradually over many years and eventually become more severe. It affects multiple brain functions.

The first sign of Alzheimer’s disease is usually minor memory problems, for example, forgetting about recent conversations or events, and forgetting the names of places and objects.

As the condition develops, memory problems become more severe and further symptoms can develop, such as:


  • confusion, disorientation and getting lost in familiar places
  • difficulty planning or making decisions
  • problems with speech and language
  • problems moving around without assistance or performing self-care tasks
  • personality changes, such as becoming aggressive, demanding and suspicious of others
  • hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there) and delusions (believing things that are untrue)
  • low mood or anxiety