Early warning signs of Alzheimer’s

An ability to recognize dementia symptoms early can help millions take proactive steps to improve quality of life.

Alzheimer’s disease is an insidious illness that slowly robs individuals of their memories, personalities and relationships. The Mayo Clinic says Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurological disorder that causes brain atrophy and cell death, which contributes to continuous decline in thinking, behavioral and social skills. This eventually affects a person’s ability to live independently.

The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which is believed to affect approximately 5.8 million Americans age 65 and older. While there currently is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, there are strategies that can help mitigate symptoms. An ability to recognize dementia symptoms early can help millions take proactive steps to improve quality of life.

Below are some early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, courtesy of notable health organizations, including MJHS Health System, the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s New Zealand, and the Mayo Clinic.

n Recent memory loss that affects daily life. While it is normal to forget where you left keys, names or even telephone numbers from time to time, a person with dementia may have difficulty remembering recent events or where they live.

n Personality changes. Individuals may begin to show subtle differences in their personalities, including mood swings. For example, a person who is easygoing may become reluctant to interact with others.

n Difficulty with familiar routes. A person with dementia may have regular difficulty driving familiar routes or finding the way home.

n Trouble finding the right words. Finding words to converse freely can be difficult for people with Alzheimer’s. Such individuals may experience particular difficulty finding the right words to express their thoughts or identify objects.

n Disorientation with time. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may be confused about the time of day and what is appropriate for that time.

n Decreased or poor judgement. Individuals with dementia may make consistently poor decisions and may start paying less attention to their physical appearance.

n Difficulty following a plan. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may have challenges solving problems, such as working with numbers, following a recipe or keeping track of finances.

Early signs of dementia may be confused as normal age-related changes. However, when such signs present themselves, it is critical to speak with medical professionals to get a clear diagnosis.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1