Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent form of dementia in old adults. This disease significantly impairs the ability of an individual to function and perform his or her daily functions effectively. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease, that begins slowly, then worsens as time goes by. Initially, it affects brain functions such as memory, speech, and language, and thought. Patients usually have a problem with their short-term memory, which might progress to affect their long-term memory as the disease progresses. In addition, they maybe not be able to recognize people around them, such as their wife, siblings, friends and relatives. Lastly, they may lack the ability to carry out their daily activities such as cooking, taking their bath, or even eating. They tend to rely on caregivers at the later stage. This could cause a lot of frustration and impatience, especially in people around them. This disease has no cure, but treatments can be given to improve the symptoms, and possibly stop the progression of the disease.
What Are The Signs Of Alzheimer’s Disease?
More signs of this disease are being unraveled, the more scientists make progress on the disease. According to research, it’s been noted that the alterations in the brain, usually starts a long time before the symptom starts showing. In some cases, the changes would have started taking place, 8 to 10 years before the patient would start presenting with symptoms. The signs of this disease can be classified into 3 categories. These are mild, moderate and severe signs.
Signs Of Mild Alzheimer’s Disease
- Patients rarely present with any sign at this stage. In fact, they might look healthy, but a lot would be going on in their head. They usually find it difficult making sense of what’s going on around them. Below are some of the signs of mild Alzheimer’s disease;
- Loss of memory: This usually concerns the short-term They might have some difficulty remembering a recent event, or incidence, and have a hard time assimilating new knowledge.
- Lack of focus: They usually have wandering thoughts, and find it difficult focusing on a particular task.
- Reckless attitude: In most cases, they become restless and reckless. They make careless and unwise decisions.
- Become slow: They usually experience a deterioration in their ability to accomplish tasks. An activity that would usually take them a short time before the disease, would take them a really long time to complete if they get to complete it.
- Low mood and aggression: They tend to isolate themselves from social gatherings, and could sometimes become very aggressive. They might start showing a bit of apathy, but this isn’t usually very evident in the mild stage of Alzheimer’s disease.
Signs Of Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease
Patients generally become more reliant on the help of caregivers. Caregivers are people that are employed to take care of people, especially sick people that can’t take care of themselves. This is done because the burden of taking care of them might be too much for the relatives and friends of the patient. Some of the signs of the moderate Alzheimer’s disease include;
- Loss of memory: This becomes worse in the moderate stage. Although the patient has problems with his short-term memory, they start showing signs of long-term memory loss too, but it is subtle at this stage.
- Brain plasticity: They lack the ability to learn new information and knowledge. They also become rigid in their behavior and character. They prefer to do things the same way. Changing the way they think or pattern of thought becomes difficult for them, so they’d rather be rigid.
- Deterioration of their language and speech center: They also usually have problems with activities such as writing, reading and calculations. Generally, there is a reduction in the number of words they use when speaking.
- Hallucinations: Patients present with hallucinations. This could either be visual or auditory hallucinations. They could claim that they’re hearing some voices when no one is actually talking to them. On the other hand, they could talk about seeing some people, that is not real. They tend to have a belief in false reality. These things look like reality to them, that they would not believe otherwise. Other symptoms include delusions and paranoia.
- They have a problem focusing. This gives them a short attention span.
- Apathy, recklessness, and anxiety.
- Impairment in performing their tasks: At the moderate stage, patients usually have a hard time taking care of themselves. It’s worse than that experienced in the mild stage. Even walking down or climbing the staircase might become an impossible task for them.
Signs of Severe Alzheimer’s Disease
At this stage, patients lack the ability to interact and communicate with people. They rely totally on the support of caregivers. They are usually bedridden at this stage. Below are some of the signs;
- Loss of weight
- Muscle atrophy: This occurs mostly as a result of the disuse of their muscles. Patients are mostly bedridden and would start losing their muscle mass because of disuse.
- Infections: This also can be attributed to the idea that they’re bedridden, and can’t take care of themselves.
What Are The Early Signs Of Alzheimer’s Disease?
Below are some of the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. These are similar to the mild stage of the disease. They are;
- Loss of memory: This is one of the most prevalent symptoms of the disease. Patients usually have problems remembering recent events. In addition to this, they have problems acquiring new information.
- Confusion: They often get confused easily. Also, they don’t like changing the way they do things.
- Reduction in the ability to focus: They also have problems focusing on activities. This becomes evident when they work with people. There would be a gradual reduction in their productivity.
- Self-Withdrawal: They like to isolate themselves from people. They generally lack the motivation to interact.
It’s best to speak to your physician if you notice these changes, or have a relative or close friend presenting with these symptoms. The earlier it’s diagnosed, the better the outcome of the disease.
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