Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that destroys memory and thinking skills. It is the most common form of dementia, a group of brain disorders that lead to a decline in intellectual abilities. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. There are no treatments that stop or reverse the progression of Alzheimer’s, so it’s important to look out for the signs. Here are the Alzheimer’s 10 signs to look out for.
1. Memory Loss that Disrupts Daily Life
When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss is often one of the first and most noticeable symptoms. This can be particularly challenging when it disrupts daily life. For example, forgetting important things like where you put your car keys or forgetting important appointments can make it difficult to stay on top of your day-to-day routine.
2. Challenges in Planning or Solving Problems
There are many different challenges that can arise when trying to plan or solve a problem, and they can vary depending on the individual. For example, someone who is forgetful or has Alzheimer’s disease may have difficulty remembering the steps they took to solve a problem, or may forget what the problem was in the first place. Additionally, someone who is indecisive may have difficulty making decisions, which can impact their ability to solve problems.
3. Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks at Home, Work, or Leisure
In addition to the cognitive impairments associated with Alzheimer’s, many people with the disease also experience physical changes that can make completing everyday tasks more difficult. For example, people with Alzheimer’s may have trouble with balance and coordination, which can make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. They may also have problems with vision and hearing, which can make it difficult to see or hear what they’re doing.
4. Confusion with Time or Place
Confusion with time or place can be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. As Alzheimer’s progresses, the person’s ability to remember things diminishes. This can include becoming confused about what time of day it is, what day it is, or where they are. They may even forget important personal information, such as their name or address.
5. Trouble Understanding Visual Images and Spatial Relationships
There is growing evidence that trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships is an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. People with Alzheimer’s may have difficulty recognizing faces or understanding what they see in a picture. They may also have trouble following directions or understanding spatial relationships, such as which side of the room is north or south. All of these problems can make it difficult to navigate the world.
6. New Problems with Words in Speaking or Writing
Alzheimer’s disease can cause a wide range of problems with words, both when speaking and writing. Patients may have trouble coming up with the right words or may mix up words, creating confusing and nonsensical sentences. They may also have difficulty understanding what others are saying, or speaking in a clear and concise manner.
7. Misplacing Objects and Losing the Ability to Retrace Steps
There are many things that can happen as a person begins to experience the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. One common symptom is the gradual loss of certain abilities, such as the ability to retrace steps or remember the location of objects. This can be extremely frustrating for the person with Alzheimer’s and their loved ones, as it can make even simple tasks very difficult.
8. Decreased or Poor Judgment
Judgment is one of the many cognitive abilities that can be affected by Alzheimer’s disease. People with Alzheimer’s may experience decreased judgment or poor judgment. This can be particularly dangerous, as it can lead to them making bad decisions or taking risks that they wouldn’t normally take. For example, a person with Alzheimer’s may decide to go for a walk alone in a dangerous neighborhood, or they may give away large sums of money to telemarketers.
9. Withdrawal from Work or Social Activities
When a person with Alzheimer’s disease begins to withdraw from work or social activities, it is often one of the first signs that the disease is progressing. Often, people with Alzheimer’s will start to lose interest in things they used to enjoy and will become less active. They may no longer want to go out with friends or family, or they may stop working altogether.
10. Changes in Mood and Personality
Personality and mood changes are common in early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. The person may become easily agitated, depressed, or irritable. In the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the person may become withdrawn and uncommunicative. He or she may lose interest in activities that were once enjoyed and may no longer be able to take care of himself or herself.
Altogether, the 10 signs of Alzheimer’s disease are important indicators of the progression of the disease. They provide an overall view of the patient’s health and can help to determine the best course of treatment.