Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects memory and general mental abilities and functions. It starts slowly from forgetting essential and memorable dates, repeatedly misplacing things to not recognizing friends and family members. While Alzheimer’s usually begins after the age of 65, it’s not a part of growing up or aging, it’s a disease that slowly decreases cognitive function over some time.
Here are the signs of Alzheimer’s you should look out for:
Early warning signs of Alzheimer’s include disorientation about time, place, location, or events. You may have Alzheimer’s if:
- You always need to check the calendar to know the day or date.
- You are unaware of where you are and your purpose of being there.
- You don’t know what year it is.
- You can’t tell what season it is.
- You believe you are younger than you
- You lost track of time and believed you are living in the past.
- You can’t recognize your home, workplace or a family member.
- A Decrease in Communication Abilities
Inability to find the appropriate word in everyday conversations, trouble writing articles or journals you normally write with ease and inability to keep a conversation are all early signs of Alzheimer’s.
- Having Issues with Planning and Problem Solving
With cognitive decline comes planning issues and inability to solve fundamental daily problems. If you struggle to prepare a simple meal you are used to preparing, unable to solve a basic mathematical calculation or suddenly forget how to knit, you may need to talk to your doctor.
- Memory Loss
A common sign of Alzheimer’s is memory loss. While it is normal to have an occasional loss of memory like where you dropped your keys, frequent episodes of such is a sign of Alzheimer’s setting in. If you have to ask for the same information several times, needs notes and reminders for daily activities you normally remember or having troubles to recall recent events and activities, then it might be Alzheimer’s knocking on your door.
- Problems Engaging in Regular Activities or Hobbies
Lack of interest in regular activities or unwillingness to partake in your favorite hobby could be a sign of Alzheimer’s. It could be:
- Losing interest in your favorite sport or favorite team
- Giving up on skills like playing musical instruments or knitting
- Unwillingness to spend time with cherished loved ones or avoiding get together with good old friends.
You should talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any of these.
6. Poor Judgement
With a decline in cognitive functions come error in judgment or not knowing good from bad and right from wrong. If you notice your shrewd old man falling for easy scams and been ripped off or your usually clean mother looking dirty and unkempt, it might be a sign of Alzheimer’s that needs immediate attention. Generally, pay attention to unexplained, unexpected behavioral changes.
- Visual and Spatial Problems
With Alzheimer’s comes difficulty with perception of space and distance. This could be the Inability to recognize pictures or images, inability to recognize family members or common objects, inability to drive due to the error in judgment of distance. This impairment can also make reading difficult or impossible as well as make it difficult for you to find your way home from work.
8. Mood Swings
We all experience mood swing sometimes because of an experience or a difficult situation, but when these changes are frequent and have not been provoked by any events, it could be an early symptom of Alzheimer’s.
While we continuously look out for cognitive decline and memory loss as a sign of Alzheimer’s, a new study has shown that depression indeed could be one of the earliest signs of dementia. Episodes of depression characterized by heightened irritability, sudden and unexplained mood swings, feeling of low esteem, sleep and concentration problems may be the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s that we pay less attention to because we are looking for memory loss or impairment as a sign instead.
Lack of willingness to be involved in social activities is an early sign of Alzheimer’s. Preferring to watch television rather than a night out, missing social appointments like dinner, burial or sudden lack of interest in sports, favorite team or games that you have enjoyed playing over the years are all early warnings of Alzheimer’s.
Confusion about what to eat, who you are, where you are and why you are there, misplacing things and being unable to retrace them, confusion about finances, confusion about relationships are all signs of Alzheimer’s. See a doctor if you notice you are getting confused about many things every time.
- Difficulty Performing Tasks and Activities
It is understandable if as a 70-year-old you struggle with using the latest technology or understanding latest trends, struggling with an activity, a game or a skill you have known for decades is an early sign of dementia. If you are unable to recollect the rules of your favorite game, forget how to operate common gadgets like television, toaster or you having trouble getting home from work, you should book an appointment with a doctor for proper examination.
- Focusing Problems
Being unable to focus on an issue or activity or inability to stay in conversations or engage in one is an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. While memory loss is the most common and most noticeable sign of Alzheimer’s disease, less common signs like irritability, focusing problems, judgment impairment, social withdrawal, mood swings, visual and spatial problems, anxiety, confusion, and even depression are early signs of Alzheimer’s that are often ignored. Developing one of these symptoms is enough for an appointment with your doctor.
It’s possible to suffer Alzheimer’s before the age of 65, in fact, up to 5% of reported cases of Alzheimer’s are those under the age of 65. Early onset of Alzheimer’s (before 65 years) is possible but rare. Since the early onset of Alzheimer’s is possible, it’s imperative to pay attention to any sign of cognitive decline at any age. If you always forget where you dropped your car keys or constantly needs a reminder for your daughter’s or wife’s birthday, you might be in danger of Alzheimer’s.