Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. It affects around 3.9 percent of people older than 60 worldwide. Alzheimer’s disease can have a huge negative impact on the person’s life, create fear about the future and foster a wide range of negative emotions like anger, frustration and sadness.
One of the most effective ways to improve the quality of life of patients is an early diagnosis. It can even bring a sense of relief for many people. Once a patient knows the reason for his or her memory loss and behavioral changes, he or she will now have more control over the condition and may live independently for longer. Patients who have been diagnosed early can even plan ahead for the future and participate in their own future care, as well as their financial, legal and treatment choices.
Additionally, they can also make lifestyle changes that slow the progression of the disease and reduce the risk of complications. The following list will explain the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Don’t ignore these symptoms, and be sure to visit your doctor if you or a loved one is experiencing any of them.
It can be easy to confuse the signs of Alzheimer’s with the signs of aging, so learning to identify them can improve treatment and care.
Losing a thing every once in a while is normal, but the problem is when it happens too often. Some people will simply forget where they put the objects and be unable to retrace their steps back. Others will place objects in inappropriate places. For example, they may put their keys in the sugar bowl or their shoes in the dishwasher.
Sometimes, they can even accuse others of stealing their objects once the condition progresses. If misplacing things is starting to cause you distress or affecting your family relationship, visit a doctor.
Losing Sense of Direction
One of the biggest early symptoms of Alzheimer is losing the sense of spatial navigation. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble traveling or moving around in a new place. As the disease progresses, they may even forget how they got to a place or where they are, even if the place is familiar. They may get lost on their own street and forget once-familiar directions.
Sometimes, people with Alzheimer’s can think they are at the mall when they are still in the house. When that happens, it is urgent to seek professional health.
Simple Tasks Become Difficult
People with early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease tend to have difficulty following once-familiar tasks. This can include preparing coffee, recording a TV show, using a smartphone, tying shoelaces, playing a game they used to love or preparing their favorite meal. If the task involves numbers, it becomes more complicated. They may also struggle with new routines, learning new things and following instructions. For example, they may not be able to follow the steps to prepare a new recipe.
Short-Term Memory Problems
This is without a doubt the symptom most people associate with Alzheimer’s disease. It is common to forget things every once in a while, especially for elderly people. However, people with dementia do not forget things that happened five days ago, but rather, things that happened five minutes ago. For example, they forget what they had for breakfast, they ask the same question over and over or they ask why they entered a particular room.
Memory loss starts to affect their quality of life and independence and they may start to rely more on loved ones and reminder notes to remember things. As the condition progresses, they start to also have long-term memory problems like forgetting the name of a close friend, important dates or their favorite movies.
Anyone can make bad decisions, but making questionable choices all the time is an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. For example, if a person used to pay a lot of attention to his or her physical appearance, they may suddenly stop taking care of their personal hygiene, like not showering or never washing their hair.
They can also make poor choices such as wearing winter clothing on a hot day, giving all of their money to a stranger or going out in the street wearing just underwear.
Alzheimer’s patients may start to lose interest in hobbies, friends, family and other things they used to love. They don’t find motivation for anything and struggle to get out of bed or even eat. Sometimes, the apathy can lead to symptoms of depression or anxiety.
They may feel frustrated due to the inability of doing simple tasks or handling unfamiliar things. They start to become disinterested and withdraw from social life, including family gatherings, because they feel embarrassed that they could forget something or are not even capable of maintaining a conversation. They may believe it is better to isolate themselves, but this will only increase their feeling of depression and anxiety.
Trouble Speaking and Writing
People experiencing early signs of Alzheimer’s disease struggle to communicate properly. They experience difficulty completing a sentence or finding the right words. Sometimes, they may even use the wrong words without being aware of it. In some cases, they don’t know how to continue a conversation and may take longer than usual to finish it. Since they also have trouble with hand to eye to brain coordination, they may struggle with writing.
Confusion With Time
Changes in vision are usually associated with the normal aging process, but sometimes it can change due to dementia. The brain also has an important role in processing the vision, so it makes sense that when it deteriorates, it affects the eyesight. Patients may start to suffer from blurring and struggle to recognize objects, which also affects their reading skills. They also lose peripheral vision and can only see things that are in front of them. They may also have trouble distinguishing colors.
Early diagnosis is crucial to improve the quality of life of people suffering from dementia. It is something that will not only benefit the patient, but also the caregivers and family members. Plan for your future and have more access to information in advance. You may even participate in clinical trials and have access to better treatment options.