Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disease that severely impairs cognitive functioning. It is the sixth leading cause of mortality in America. While there are many new and emerging treatment protocols available today, the best approach is to catch Alzheimer’s before it fully develops, when drug treatments have their greatest chance for reversing or stemming the progression of the disease.signs
Here are ten common warning signs that should alert you to the possibility that you or someone you love may be developing Alzheimer’s. If they sound familiar to you, please make an appointment to see your healthcare professional as soon as possible.
As we get older, it is not unusual to lose track of which day of the week it is, or whether we did something yesterday or the day before. However, if your confusion is more pronounced, such as not knowing where you are or how you arrived at this place, this is more symptomatic of early stages of Alzheimer’s.
Memory loss also comes with aging. Perhaps you might forget someone’s name when you see them in the grocery store, but after thinking about it the name comes to you. A person in the early stages of Alzheimer’s loses their ability to recall information. This is especially true of short-term memory. They may not be able to retain new information or must rely on reminder tools, such as sticky notes or family members for even the simplest tasks, appointments, and special events. If you or your family member never had problems keeping track of a busy life in the past, then this is a good sign of Alzheimer’s.
3. Impaired problem-solving abilities.
With Alzheimer’s you will find that you cannot formulate a strategy for dealing with certain situations, follow simple directions, such as a recipe, or handle mathematical tasks, such as tracking your bills or balancing your checkbook.
4. Difficulties with communicating.
It is not unusual to struggle with finding the right word we want to use to get across a certain point. A person with early stages of Alzheimer’s will find it difficult to follow a conversation, to know how to join in, or will begin speaking about something, and then leave the thought unfinished.
If you see that someone you love is slowly withdrawing from all their favorite activities, social circles and friends, this could be an indicator of Alzheimer’s.
6. Familiar tasks become difficult.
You or your loved one may find that the tasks you routinely performed at home or at work are now difficult for you. You may forget how to drive to work or some other familiar location or how to play your favorite game.
7. Mood changes.
It is true that as we age, we can sometimes become less patient or more irritable. A person developing Alzheimer’s though will display much more pronounced changes in mood, exhibiting fear, depression, confusion, anxiety with little warning, especially when outside of their comfort zone, such as in new surroundings or around new people.
8. Impaired ability to judge situations.
A person with Alzheimer’s may fail to employ critical decision-making skills to adequately assess situations, easily falling prey to scammers and telemarketers.
9. Vision problems.
Aging can bring vision issues, especially conditions such as cataracts. Alzheimer’s can impair a person’s spatial ability, or their ability to identify colors or even to read.
10. Losing track of personal items.
If a person with Alzheimer’s loses an item, they will not have the capacity to review in their mind all the places they were earlier in order to find it. While it is not usual as we age to forget where we placed something, usually with considerable thought, we can eventually remember where we left it.