Many of those who visit, either because they are interested in expanding their horizons or because they have a direct interest in finding out more about mental illnesses are wondering whether Alzheimer and dementia are one and the same thing. As you may have already found out from the correct name is Alzheimer’s disease, but most people just call it Alzheimer’s or Alzheimer. This is an incurable, degenerative and terminal mental disease that affects a person’s brain cells. They are destroyed up to the point where the patient cannot perform the  most basic functions.  But should we think of Alzheimer and dementia as one item?

Many people, including some doctors prefer to call Alzheimer’s  dementia, probably because another name for it is senile dementia of Alzheimer’s type. However, Alzheimer and dementia are not the same thing: the first one is a disease, while the second one is a symptom. A more clear difference between Alzheimer and dementia is that the first is the disease that causes the second, which is an effect. It is also true that many other illnesses cause dementia. In some cases, other things than a mental illness can cause dementia. As incredible as it may sound, severe dehydration causes dementia. So it’s highly insufficient for a doctor to tell the patient that they suffer from dementia. It’s quite another thing if they tell you the patient suffers from Alzheimer and dementia.

While you should at all times keep in mind the difference between Alzheimer and dementia, remember that frequent signs of dementia are: impaired judgment, difficulty  taking decisions,  difficulties with any form of abstract thinking, memory loss, inappropriate behavior,agitation, paranoia and the list could go on. There could be warning signs like the inability to perform familiar, common tasks, inexplicable changes of personality and so on. Alzheimer and dementia that it causes should be taken seriously from the beginning. People with a relevant family history are more likely to get Alzheimer and dementia caused by it. Although they are not the only ones.

Now that we’ve established that Alzheimer and dementia are completely different things, you should also know that a dementia diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence, as long as it is not caused by Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer is a terminal disease, but dementia is of many kinds and does not always result into the patient’s death. Make sure that the doctor makes a clear distinction between Alzheimer and dementia and that you find out all the implications of their diagnosis. Although there is no cure for Alzheimer, there are drugs which improve the brain cell’s capacity of processing information, because they regulate glutamate levels. They can delay the total degradation of the brain cells. Other drugs improve the brain cells’ capacity of learning, also delaying memory loss. These are often used in early stages of the disease. There are also  exercises that stimulate the patient’s brain, alternative music therapy, proven to be quite effective and researches are being continued.