10 Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimers Concept.

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Almost everyone knows that memory problems are some of the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease, but it’s not always the first sign for everyone. There are several other telltale signs that Alzheimer’s disease may be developing.

Most people with Alzheimer’s disease are over 65 but it’s not considered a normal part of aging. This disease of the brain gets progressively worse over time. Plaque and tangles occur throughout the brain. The plaque is a deposit of a certain type of protein called beta-amyloid and the tangles are another type of twisted protein fibers called tau. These plaques and tangles will continue to increase and damage more and more brain cells as this disease progresses.

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s. Often, those over 80 who develop Alzheimer’s, frequently die within 3 or 4 years of their original diagnosis. Those who are diagnosed at a younger age often live 10 years or more.

How can you tell the difference between normal aging memory loss and Alzheimer’s? Normal aging would be forgetting where you left your car keys. Alzheimer’s is not knowing what your car keys are for.

Should you find that you, or someone you love, are experiencing any of these 10 early warning signs, talk to your doctor immediately.


1. Isolation

Many Alzheimer’s patients will stay away from social activities they enjoyed previously such as sports, hobbies, family get-togethers, shopping trips, or even casual interactions with their friends. Because they don’t understand what is going on or sometimes don’t remember who people are, they find it easier to simply avoid social situations.


2. Obvious Personality Changes

Another early sign of Alzheimer’s are changes in a person’s personality or mood. People affected by this disease become easily confused or fearful. They are often suspicious of everyone, especially trusted family members. Sometimes they become anxious or even aggressive. Alzheimer’s patients sometimes have a complete personality change. A normally calm, friendly person will suddenly become a screaming, angry individual while a normally aggressive, easily agitated person becomes a gently lamb. Family members are often left shaking their head claiming that they “don’t know what happened to this person” or that they” don’t know who they are anymore. “


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3.  Memory Loss

Most people are aware of the memory loss and forgetfulness that are a part of Alzheimer’s. This is perhaps its most common symptom. People will forget names of family members, conversations that just happened, phone calls they just received, or they might ask the same question again and again, forgetting that they just asked the same question a few minutes before. They can forget what season it is, or they may not understand something if it’s not happening immediately, they might even forget their own birthday or age.


4. Difficulty with Everyday Tasks

Those with the early stages of Alzheimer’s might find it difficult to handle familiar, everyday tasks such as handling their money, getting dressed, fixing meals. At first it might just take them longer than it used to, later, they find they have difficulty completing the task at all.


5.  Losing or Misplacing Things

Constantly losing or misplacing items is another common early sign of Alzheimer’s. Family members report that they will find things in strange places such as milk in a hall closet or a toothbrush in a sock drawer. When they ask their family member about it, they deny any knowledge about the item and will be adamant that they did not put the item there. Also, Alzheimer’s patients will frequently lose common items such as their wallet, purse, keys, or hairbrush. Sometimes these patients will even accuse those living in the house with them as thieves or being troublemakers who are trying to make their lives difficult.

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Nurses Helping Elderly

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6. Problems with Decisions

People with early stages of Alzheimer’s may have poor judgment or have difficulty making simple decisions, such as what to wear, or what to eat. They might give away large amounts of money to telemarketers or fail to pay attention to their grooming, wearing the same clothes for weeks.


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7. Losing Track of Time

Those with the early signs of Alzheimer’s include a difficulty keeping track of time, dates, seasons, and appointments. They sometimes forget, for example, that their children are grown or that it’s Christmas (or that it’s NOT Christmas). They find they need more and more reminders in the way of clearly marked calendars reminding them that it’s Halloween or their oldest child’s 50th birthday.


8. Planning or Problem Solving

Some Alzheimer’s patients find that they are unable to make a plan and follow it through. For example, they will say they need new glasses but don’t seem to be able to call their eye doctor for an appointment and drive or ask for a ride to the appointment. Those with Alzheimer’s might also have difficulty with numbers and therefore simple things like recipes and checkbooks become a problem for them.


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9. Trouble Communicating

Another early sign is a trouble to follow a conversation, especially on the telephone where the patient cannot see the other person’s face. Other times they might stop in the middle of a sentence and forget what they were saying or they will struggle for the right word. Sometimes they use the wrong word such as flick instead of fork or simple instead of sample.


10. Vision or Space problems

Some Alzheimer’s patients become confused easily when reading, or determining a color. They can’t tell you if something is one foot away or one mile away. They frequently confuse colors as well and this can lead to serious driving problems.

If you notice any of these symptoms in someone you love or yourself, speak to your doctor right away. They can help determine whether this is normal aging or the beginning of Alzheimer’s. While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are some treatments that may help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.