The earlier that Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin, granting those afflicted more time to plan for the future, states the Alzheimer’s Association (AA). Knowing the signs can expedite a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, which is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning skills. The signs are more severe than “typical age-related changes” of occasional forgetfulness and momentary confusion.
Alzheimer’s is a specific form of dementia (the umbrella term for brain disorders) that affects parts of the brain controlling thought, memory, and language. Although Alzheimer’s is a degenerative and incurable disease, medications and coping strategies may temporarily improve the condition.
According to the AA, Alzheimer’s 10 warning signs are:
1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. This is one of the most common signs, especially forgetting recently learned information or important dates and events.
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. For example, sufferers may have trouble following a familiar recipe or monitoring monthly bills.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work, or leisure.
4. Confusion with time or place.
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. Judging distance, determining colors, and vision problems can indicate Alzheimer’s.
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing.
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps to find them.
8. Decreased or poor judgment, especially when making decisions.
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.
10. Changes in mood and personality. People with Alzheimer’s may become suspicious, depressed, fearful, or anxious.
“If you notice any of these Alzheimer’s signs in yourself or someone you know, don’t ignore them. Schedule an appointment with your doctor,” the AA urges.
Alzheimers.net adds, “Until a proper diagnosis is made, the best approach to any dementia is engagement, communication, and loving care.”