Early Symptoms Of Alzheimers
Early Symptoms Of Alzheimers
Alzheimers disease (AD) is a common form of progressive dementia. The progression of the disease often causes problems with behaviour, memory and thinking ability. The disease progresses slowly starting with mild symptoms until the late stages where there is very serious cognitive decline. At this point, the individual is unable to respond to the environment and cannot control movement. Patients do not die of the disease but rather an external factor caused by it such as pneumonia or infection.
As the disease most commonly affects elderly people, the early symptoms of Alzheimers disease are most often confused as being part of the normal aging process. This is because the most common symptom in the early stages is difficulty in remembering things. This means that in many cases, an Alzheimers disease diagnosis is not made until there is a significant occurrence that warrants a further investigation into the cause.
The early symptoms of Alzheimers disease are even more difficult to detect in younger people. Alzheimers does not only affect older people but also younger people in rare instances. If Alzheimers affects people in the 30s to 50s, it is called early onset or younger onset Alzheimers disease. Because Alzheimers is commonly thought of as an old age disease, its early symptoms in younger people are often erroneously attributed to other medical conditions.
The most common early symptoms of Alzheimers disease will include mood swings that are unexplained, changes in personality (individual may become withdrawn, less spontaneous and energetic), minor short term memory loss, confusion, may not be able to pay attention and may have difficulty in spatial orientation. The symptoms will vary from one individual to the next. However, they are usually very mild and may not draw any attention.
The period during which the early symptoms of Alzheimers appear will also vary depending on the individual’s age, general health, genetics and family history. This period may last anywhere from 2 to 4 years before progression to more severe cognitive decline.
Detection of the early symptoms of Alzheimers is extremely important. This is because an early detection of the disease improves the prognosis. That is, the earlier the diagnosis, the better the outcome. A person is able to explore the various treatment options that are available and get more out of them. Treatment can slow the progression of the disease and control the symptoms. This means the patient is able to retain some independence for a while longer.
The detection of the early symptoms of Alzheimers also gives more time to plan for the future in terms of care, financial decisions, legal matters, transportation, living arrangements and other important issues. The Alzheimers disease sufferer is also able to participate in these planning ahead decisions as his cognitive decline is still mild.