“What’s the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s?” It’s a common question, and doctors are some of the best at confusing us. Physicians seem to prefer the word “dementia,” possibly because Alzheimer’s has become such a loaded word. “Dementia” somehow sounds less frightening to many people, and now even the experts have started using the words interchangeably.
They aren’t interchangeable. Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia are two very different things.
Dementia is a symptom. Pain is a symptom, and many different injuries and illnesses can cause pain. When you go to the doctor because you hurt, you won’t be satisfied if the doctor diagnoses “pain” and sends you home. You want to know what is causing the pain, and how to treat it.
“Dementia” simply means the symptom of a deterioration of intellectual abilities resulting from an unspecified disease or disorder of the brain.
Alzheimer’s Disease is one disease/disorder that causes dementia. Many other illnesses or “syndromes” can also cause dementia. Parkinson’s Disease can cause dementia. A stroke can cause dementia. Even dehydration can cause dementia.
Many of the things that can cause dementia are treatable, even potentially curable.
If a member of your family has received a diagnosis of “dementia” from their doctor they probably haven’t received a proper diagnosis at all. Unless you know what is causing the dementia you can’t begin to treat it’s root cause.
If their physician has diagnosed “dementia” it’s time for a second opinion. You are probably dealing either with a physician who is not comfortable with the truth, or one who doesn’t know how (or doesn’t want to bother) to differentiate between all the possible causes of dementia.
Alzheimer’s and dementia are strongly linked because Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Dementia is the constant evolution of the atrophy of the brain’s cognitive functions. In the case of Alzheimer’s, abnormal protein build up happen in the brain which interferes with its normal functions through interactions with the brain nerves and neurotransmitters that cause these elements to whither and die.
Alzheimer’s and dementia are attributed with progressive memory loss and other functions that are attributed to brain deterioration. Natural brain atrophy and cognitive function loss is a normal experience by humans as we age. However, Alzheimer’s type of dementia is way beyond that of what is considered the norm.
Alzheimer’s type dementia is extremely debilitating and the disease can run its course from as fast as 5 years but some cases stretch on to 20 years. The disruption of Alzheimer’s type dementia can be very confusing and difficult. What’s really hard to accept is that as of the moment, there are no known cures or successful treatments available for Alzheimer’s patients.
Of all the types of dementia, only a very tiny percentage is reversible and it is believed that Alzheimer’s is not one of them. It is said that once it attacks, there can be no slowing or stopping down and that all one can do is be prepared for the onslaught. In this case, it is also important the patient’s friends and loved one understand and know all about Alzheimer’s and dementia so that they too can be allowed to cope with this situation.
If you suffer from the very early stages of Alzheimer’s type dementia, it can be very difficult for you to accept what is happening to you while you are aware of your situation. Often times, patients can create very difficult situations for themselves as well as for the people around them. For instance, people with Alzheimer’s type dementia can have the same conversation with the same person over and over again without realizing it.
Perhaps a person with Alzheimer’s type dementia can forget that they have just previously called a loved one to tell them something only to put the phone down and call right back to talk about the exact same thing. Situations like these can cause difficulties that is why it is important for people with Alzheimer’s type dementia to have the proper care.
Loss of correct judgment will inadvertently follow as the Alzheimer’s type dementia progresses so it might be prudent for patients to be supervised all the time. Eventually, patients will have to depend exclusively on specialized care for all their needs. This makes it important for patients and their loved ones to choose the right facility for this process.
It is important that people with Alzheimer’s type dementia be treated with respect and dignity all throughout the duration of the disease. While the patient has not lost all ability to make judgments and remember important things, they should be consulted in terms of what facilities or type of professional care they think they would benefit from.
As a loved one of someone who has Alzheimer’s type dementia, it can be very hard and painful to witness the progressing of the disease. This may cause some negative emotions and a lot of grief that may be unwittingly projected at the patient.
However, at the onset of the disease, when the patient is still conscious and aware, they can go through an even more painful process of accepting their disease.
However, if one carries out a bit of research in the subject you would discover that relatively few studies have examined the environmental causes of dementia/Alzheimer’s such as the influence of toxic chemical exposures on the risk of dementia/cognitive decline. Nonetheless, evidence has begun to develop. Studies implicating lead, pesticides, PCBs, particulate air pollution, and aluminum have recently been published.
Unfortunately the harsh reality for all concerned, is that the medical pharmaceutical industry doesn’t make money out of cures, it makes money out of treatments.
And the best way for them to line their pockets…
…is for YOU to stay sick as long as possible.
Otherwise they would be bankrupt overnight
However, things are changing. People can take things into their own hands and carry out their own research into the efficacy of products and treatments and there are alternatives that needn’t cost the earth.
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