Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Disease affects brain cells causing them to die. This in turn negatively impacts memory, behavior, and thinking. The Alzheimer’s Association has declared that the disease is the cause for 60-80% of dementia cases. Because Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease and worsens over time, it’s important to recognize the early symptoms as soon as possible.
Often it is difficult to spot the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease if you are not actively looking, as they can be very subtle. However, the earlier you detect the symptoms and bring them to a medical professional’s attention, the better the individual’s ultimate quality of life in the long-term. Alzheimer’s typically first affects areas of the brain that are responsible for learning new information. Forgetfulness, however, is a common side affect of aging that most people experience and thus is not enough on its own to determine the presence of Alzheimer’s. You should however, speak to your doctor if you or your loved one’s memory loss worsens.
Other early symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease include:
- Poor judgment that leads to poor decisions
- Loss of interest in social activities
- Mood changes that may include increased anxiety
- Personality changes
- Trouble following along in conversations
- Difficulty accomplishing normal tasks (taking longer than usual)
- Difficulty judging distance and distinguishing colors
- Struggling to make plans or solve problems
- Memory loss that significant impacts daily life (forgetting directions to familiar places etc.)
- Losing objects, unable to retrace their steps, and losing track of time
Often it is family members that first notice the symptoms of Alzheimer’s rather than the person with the disease. It’s important to convey to the individual the potential seriousness of the situation and the benefits of receiving a prognosis early, including improved quality of life for years to come as family and friends come together to build a support network.