Early Signs of Alzheimers

Living With Alzheimer's

The Early Signs of Alzheimers

Alzheimer’s, a degenerative, irreversible brain disease, affects millions of older adults all over the world. It is the most common form of dementia causing memory loss and affecting a person’s cognition to the extent that they cannot carry out normal daily life activities.

Symptoms of this disease usually progress slowly and often the early signs of Alzheimers such as memory loss and mood swings are mistaken as being part of normal aging. As the disease progresses, the changes in the cognitive abilities become more and more evident as neurons in the brain stop functioning and communicating with each other and begin to die. Brain tissue in areas where neurons are dying, shrinks until brain damage is so extensive that the person with Alzheimers loses the ability to communicate and is entirely dependent on others for their care. It is therefore very important to recognize the early signs of Alzheimers for what they are as early detection allows you the chance to get appropriate treatment.

Early signs of Alzheimers that one should be on the lookout for are:

1. Memory loss that affects daily life such as forgetting recently acquired information and asking the same question repeatedly.
2. Difficulty performing familiar daily tasks such as cooking a meal or getting to a familiar location.
3. Difficulty in abstract thinking, problem solving or planning such as keeping track of monthly expenses.
4. Disorientation with time or place such as losing track of the passage of time or even getting lost in a well know neighborhood.
5. Language problems such as forgetting simple words making communication difficult.
6. Personality, behavior and mood changes. Persons with Alzheimers may become confused, withdrawn, suspicious and highly irritable.
7. Decreased or poor judgment such as ignoring grooming or cleanliness.
8. Inability to retrace steps and often misplacing things, usually because they were placed in inappropriate places.
9. Withdrawal from social activities and work and may require prompting and cues to participate.

The extent to which an individual will experience the early signs of Alzheimers will differ from person to person. Experiencing these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have the disease as other conditions may manifest the early signs of Alzheimers. These include:

Infections - such as encephalitis, meningitis or syphilis.
Psychosomatic disorders – depression, chronic insomnia or stress, delirium or dementia syndrome
Other degenerative and central nervous system disorders – Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Pick’s diseases, brain tumors, epilepsy, stroke and even head injuries.
Metabolic disorders – hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, kidney or liver failure, dehydration, malnutrition or vitamin deficiency
Conditions caused by substances such as drugs or alcohol as well as side effects from some medications and drug interactions.

However it is imperative that you are examined by a medical specialist should you suspect that you are experiencing the early signs of Alzheimers. The sooner it is diagnosed the better. Though there is no cure at this date in time, they are medications coming on the market that can slow down the progression of the disease.