Written by Josh Horsman
Alzheimer's Disease is generally associated with ageing, with 5.3million Americans affected by the condition being aged 65+ from a total of 5.5million. However, unless you have an in-depth understanding of how Alzheimer’s works, it is often hard to distinguish its symptoms from the normal effects of ageing which we all experience.
Knowing how to recognise the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease is important because receiving a diagnosis in the early stages opens up access to a wealth of help and support from specialist organisations to treatments and medication. The range of support available to those diagnosed means that many people are able to live fulfilling and active lives with the condition. Therefore, if you identify with any of the following symptoms, be sure to mention them to your Primary Care Physician who will be able to either alleviate your concerns or help you take the next steps towards a diagnosis.
Memory-loss is the most recognisable symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Occasionally forgetting names or why you came into a room, for example, are normal parts of aging we all go through, and not necessarily a cause for concern. However, if memory-loss begins to affect your life on a daily basis, it is likely that there are more serious underlying causes.
2. Trouble with Problem Solving
Alzheimer's impairs the brain’s ability to process information, and this can make it difficult to complete tasks in daily life. This may manifest in difficulty following instructions or making plans and following through with them.
3. Difficulty Completing Daily Tasks
You may find yourself suddenly having problems doing things which are familiar parts of your life, such as driving to a often-visited location or remembering the rules to your favourite game. These are symptoms which get in the way of you living normally and should certainly be reported to your primary care physician.
4. Confusion Regarding Time/Place
Disorientation regarding time and location is a prominent sign of Alzheimer's Disease. You will notice this symptom if you find yourself suddenly unaware of where you are or why you’re there, or perhaps where you’re going. You may also lose track of time easily and find it hard to remember the date or time of year.
5. Changes in Vision
Vision can also be affected by Alzheimer’s Disease, causing a decline in your eyesight to the point where you may not be able to judge distances effectively or identify colours. Whilst vision problems are fairly common and might not be a sign of Alzheimer’s Disease in isolation, when combined with other symptoms such as memory-loss, they can signal an underlying condition.
6. Language Problems
Another warning sign of Alzheimer’s Disease is when conversation becomes difficult because your command of language has weakened. You might find it harder to remember the right word or sentences that you have only just said, or you may have problems processing what others are saying to you.
7. Losing Things
Losing things is something that happens regularly for many of us, but when you are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s this becomes more regular and more severe. If you are living with Alzheimer’s, not only will you regularly lose things, but you will also be unable to retrace your steps to remember help you find the lost items.
8. Impaired Judgment
People with Alzheimer’s are prone to lapses in reasoning which cause them to make questionable decisions in their daily life. This might include, for example, neglecting your self-care or giving away financial details over the phone to people you don’t know.
9. Social Isolation
You might be displaying signs of Alzheimer’s if you find yourself withdrawing from social situations. You might be simply spending your time inside at home when you would have been out with friends, or perhaps you are isolated because you find yourself needing to sleep a lot more than you used to.
10. Mood Changes
Alzheimer’s Disease can sometimes cause drastic changes in a person's moods and behaviour. This will usually initially become evident to the people closest to you, but if you notice yourself becoming easily agitated or angry, for example, on a regular basis then it may be a sign of an underlying condition.