Common Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s from Common Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s
Common Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s
The number of American’s with Alzheimer’s disease is growing each year. In 2015, an estimated 5.3 million Americans of all ages had it, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Almost two-thirds of the patients are women. The disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys cognitive capabilities and eventually the ability to carry out the simplest tasks, according to the National Institute on Aging. Scientists say that damage to the brain starts as early as a decade or more before memory and other cognitive problems appear.
Indifference and withdrawal
Ask yourself if you are scaling back on projects at work and/or are less involved with your favorite hobbies due to lack of motivation. A person with the disease may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. He or she may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.
Repeating the same questions
Repeating the same story, word for word, again and again is a common sign a person may have mild Alzheimer’s, according to the National Institutes of Health. Patients can also often repeat themselves. Due to the deterioration of brain cells, the person may not remember what he or she just asked.
Difficulty carrying a conversation
Vocabulary becomes hard for many people with the condition. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. They may have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name.
Change in hygiene habits
Forgetting to shower or to change clothes is common. Some people may even wear the same outfit for a few days in a row. Everyone has some days where they didn’t shower for a few days, for example, but that doesn’t mean they forgot to. It’s troubling when they have become less concerned about it. This is where family and friends play a crucial role; they are the ones who can notice if something is off.
Challenges in planning
People with Alzheimer’s may find it difficult to maintain daily schedules, especially if a plan or work involves numbers, according to the National Institute on Aging. It’s not uncommon to not be able to track bills, balance a checkbook, or manage a budget. This can often lead to poor judgement and people eventually start making bad financial decisions.
Patients may experience anxiety when put in situations out of their comfort zone, or they can demonstrate acts of carelessness, leading to inappropriate behaviors, shoplifting, and insulting others without regret. They can also be very suspicious of people, especially strangers.
The mood and personalities of people with the disease can change, and that can happen quickly. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, and/or fearful, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. They may easily become distraught at home or any place where they don’t feel relaxed, happy or calm.
Difficulty thinking logically
Alzheimer's is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in thinking, among other mental abilities. Experiencing difficulty organizing thoughts and thinking logically is a common sign of moderate Alzheimer’s disease, the National Institute on Aging says. Patients are narrowing their environment to things they feel comfortable with.
Confusion about time and place
Becoming easily confused could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Forgetting where you are or how you got there is also a sign to look out for. Patients often lose track of dates and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Having vision processing problems can be a symptom of Alzheimer's. Reading may be more difficult, and so can judge distance. This is due to the fact that the back of the brain deteriorates faster in some forms of the disease. Determining the right color is another potential problem, which is especially problematic if a person is driving.
Problem keeping up with daily activities
This is a less-obvious early sign that could tip you off that something is up before Alzheimer's progresses too far. People often contribute such behavior to being exhausted. But if you are forgetting how to use the oven or the rules of a game you love, or if it’s taking longer to complete normal daily tasks, you may want to see a neurologist.
Often misplacing items
A person with the disease may put household objects and other items in unusual places such as his or her phone in the fridge. Patients may lose things they use every day such as keys and are not able to go back over their steps to find them. It’s not surprising if they become convinced someone stole what they had misplaced.
Occasional muscle twitches
This is a sign of severe Alzheimer’s disease, according to the National Institute on Aging. By the end stage of the condition, myoclonus (chronic spasm or twitching of muscles) and dyskinesia (involuntary movements) become increasingly more frequent.
Eating and drinking becomes more difficult as the disease progresses. A person in the later stages is likely to experience a range of difficulties with eating including loss of appetite, according to Alzheimer’s Society. Also, patients in the later stages may also develop difficulties with swallowing (dysphagia) and chewing. All of this is why many patients lose weight, which can affect the immune system and make it harder for the body to fight infections.
Sleeping too much, including taking long naps during the day, can be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages. Wanting to sleep more during the day and staying awake at night becomes more common as Alzheimer’s gets worse, according to WebMD.