Early Signs of Alzheimer's Disease
Recognizing Alzheimer’s Warning Signs
As the number of people age 62 and up increases over the next several years, the amount of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is also expected to increase. According to the Alzheimer’s Association,1 in 3 seniors dies each year from Alzheimer’s or other dementia, making it the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, treatments are available that can slow some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and help improve your loved one’s overall quality of life. This is why it’s so important to recognize some of the early signs of Alzheimer’s so treatment can begin as soon as possible.
Common Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
Many older people experience what are called “senior moments”; becoming forgetful about things like the password for their email account, leaving behind a shopping list, or losing their car keys for a brief time. These are momentary lapses in memory, or “mental glitches” that commonly come with aging. However, when memory loss worsens and starts to disrupt everyday life, interfering with one’s ability to function at home or work, it is time to seek professional help.
Risk factors like age, genetics and family history as well as issues like high blood pressure or cholesterol, diabetes, and stroke can all increase the chances of developing Alzheimer’s. Here are just a few of the early signs of Alzheimer’s
- Memory loss: Memory issues that affect everyday life should not be ignored. Your loved one may start forgetting important dates or events or information they just recently learned. Your loved one may also start to rely on you more and more to help them remember appointments or where they’re supposed to be on certain days.
- Performing everyday tasks becomes difficult: Things like cooking, balancing a checkbook or driving to familiar locations can start to become difficult when one has Alzheimer’s.
- Exhibiting poor judgment: Your loved one may experience changes in judgment over things like spending money or not paying attention to grooming and hygiene as well as they used to do.
- Changes in personality or mood: If you notice your loved one isn’t acting like his or her normal self and is suddenly anxious, fearful, depressed or experiencing severe mood swings, this could be a sign of Alzheimer's.
- Being confused with time and/or place: When someone has Alzheimer’s, familiar surroundings can start to seem strange. Forgetting how they arrived from point A to point B becomes common. Those with Alzheimer’s may start to get confused about what day, month or even season it is.
- Solving problems becomes challenging: Making occasional errors in a checkbook is normal, however, if your loved one is no longer paying bills on time and is having difficulty following a plan, this could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s.
- Trouble communicating: Struggling with vocabulary, joining a conversation or following along with a certain topic are all common in Alzheimer’s sufferers. Your loved one might not be able to express their thoughts successfully or may call objects or people by the wrong name
- Withdrawing socially: If you notice your loved one is starting to pull away from activities they once enjoyed with friends, as well as hobbies, work functions, etc., this could be due to memory issues; possibly it’s become too difficult to play a favorite card game or to finish that blanket they started knitting.
Don’t ignore these Alzheimer’s warning signs; the sooner you seek medical attention, the better quality of life your loved one will enjoy.
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