We see and hear the words all the time. Did you ever wonder what they really mean or what the difference is? I think we all have. What is dementia and Alzheimer’s? It’s kind of complicated. So to start us off, let’s look at the definitions.
- dementia : Dementia is a loss of mental ability severe enough to interfere with normal activities of daily living, lasting more than six months, not present since birth, and not associated with a loss or alteration of consciousness. The Free Dictionary by Farlex.
- Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) : A degenerative disease of the brain, occurring chiefly in elderly people and characterized by disorientation, memory failure, speech disturbances, and the progressive loss of mental capacity. It is associated with the formation of beta-amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the cerebral cortex and loss of neurons. [After Alois Alzheimer (1864-1915), a German neurologist.] American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. 2016.
It’s important to note that AD is a form of dementia. One of many and the most common. There are actually 400 different types of dementia, depending on the cause and location in the brain that is affected.
What It Is
We know dementia and Alzheimer’s disease affect memory. It’s because the brain is shrinking and/or there might be beta-amyloid accumulating, causing amyloid plaques, which choke off the neurotransmitters in the brain. The building of amyloid plaque is kind of a defense mechanism gone wrong. The brain’s own immune system is overreacting to something causing the amyloid to build up to try and protect the brain. In doing so, it’s actually hurting the brain.
There are many causes of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Some of them are nutritional deficiencies, toxic levels of chemicals or poisons, a head injury, abusing drugs or alcohol, diet, the ApoE4 gene (is a factor but not really a cause), and even more. So, there is at least one antagonist.
It is a protective response to some inflammation, nutritional deficiency, or toxins.
What It Isn’t
I get a lot of my information from Dale E Bredesen, MD’s 2017 book: The End of Alzheimer’s. He spent 30 years researching Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline and discovered that this isn’t one specific issue that one drug will cure. I also follow Dr. Sherry Rogers’s monthly health newsletter. She provides little known natural treatments for many health concerns, based on scientific research. She is a bit of a rebel in the medical world because she gets to the root cause of health issues and doesn’t just prescribe drugs.
There are multiple causes and multiple ways to prevent dementia and AD and even cure cognitive decline. Current medical thought is to have one drug to cure something. A one size fits all approach. That idea just doesn’t work with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Also, there are medications and other conditions that can have similar side effects or symptoms, so it’s best to rule those out. If you are wondering if a medication is causing brain fog or memory problems, talk to your doctor.
The brain also isn’t stagnant. It can repair and even grow! There was a time when it was thought the brain doesn’t change and grow, only in the wrong direction. It was thought that if you lose brain cells, they were lost forever. And thank goodness, that isn’t true.
The Extent of It
Dr. Bredesen describes in his book (2017) that Alzheimer’s affected 1 in 9 Americans aged 65 and older, or 5.2 million people in 2017. That’s not even counting dementia too. If those numbers continue, it is projected there will be 160 million people afflicted with Alzheimer’s globally in 2050. Not only is it a humanitarian concern, but it’s also a global health and financial concern.
Our health systems and long term care facilities will not be able to handle those kinds of numbers. Our insurance companies, whether state-run or private will go bankrupt. So we really need to take heed of the practitioners who have figured it out.
We need to do all we can to flatten the curve of this terrible disease, for ourselves and our loved ones.
What We Can Do
First of all, I highly recommend getting the book, The End of Alzheimer’s and subscribe to Dr. Sherry Rogers Newsletter Total Wellness. They both have a great deal to contribute to end dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Bredesen also has some suggestions for tests for deficiencies and toxins.
I also have several articles here on specific supplements and diets that impact the brain. Some we may not even be aware we’re deficient in or that they were important. In fact, it’s difficult to get enough of some with diet alone.
Dr. David Perlmutter, a renowned neurologist, has also found that gluten and sugar are big antagonists for inflammation and brain issues. He recommends cutting out gluten and sugar from the diet. It’s actually not hard to do and you will feel a difference if you try it. I’m including a link to his book below as well as The End of Alzheimer’s by Dr. Bredesen.
I’ll give you some suggestions on diet and supplement articles here:
Grape Seed Extract Benefits – Helps Detoxify
DHA for the Brain – Omega 3’s
Side Effects of Low Vitamin D – Important
Definition of Mild Cognitive Impairment – Important
And there are many more here.
Where We Are Now
So now we have a better understanding of dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s the brain’s response to inflammation, toxins, or even a nutritional deficiency. A diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (thought to be the precursor to dementia and Alzheimer’s), dementia, or Alzheimer’s doesn’t have to be a death sentence. You just need to get educated and take the steps to help your brain.
I urge you to read Dr. Bredesen’s book, The End of Alzheimer’s, and check out Dr. Sherry Rogers Total Wellness newsletter. Also, Grain Brain is excellent for learning about what gluten and sugar do to our brains. I hope you check them out today!
Thank you for reading today. I hope you learned something new and can start on the path to preventing neurodegeneration or start curing what has already started. Because most of the time, you can!
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the Comments section below. Thank you!