Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder characterized by gradual deterioration of an individual’s mental state. Most cases begin after age 65 but some individuals may be affected as early as age 40. This article shares the 10 warning signs and symptoms to look for when diagnosing the disorder and provides insights into the causes and treatments available for Alzheimer patients.
Symptoms – The symptoms associated with this condition begin as mild memory loss or forgetfulness, irritability, and increased difficulty performing ordinary daily tasks such as housework. As the disease progresses, the individual experiences confusion, difficulty recognizing family and friends, a tendency to wander, and a lack of interest in normal hygiene. In the final stages a person afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease may experience hallucinations, paranoia, and depression.
The Alzheimer’s Organization outlines 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s and they are:
- Memory loss that interferes with normal daily life
- Difficulties in planning or solving problems
- Challenges in completing familiar tasks at home, at work or during leisure time
- Confusion with regards to time or place
- Difficulty understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- Unusual problems with words in speaking or writing that may make it difficult to join in a conversation
- Misplacing items and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Unusually poor judgment
- Progressive withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
The cause of this progressive disorder is not well understood but risk may increase with a family history.
Observation of the aforementioned symptoms will likely be the first signs of a problem. It is not uncommon for family members to be the first to detected signs of this illness. When symptoms are noticed an evaluated by a physician should be scheduled. The evaluation may include a physical examination, CT scan or PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scan, which may help form the proper diagnosis.
There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Family members and friends of an Alzheimer’s patient should learn as much as possible about what to expect and how to cope with the disorder. If home-care becomes impossible, a residential health care facility will become necessary.