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ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE: EARLY SIGNS TO WATCH FOR



Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease of the brain that causes a person to lose memory as well as cognitive skills like thinking and reasoning. It is estimated that five million people in the United States alone suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. If you suspect that you or a loved one may be developing this condition, look out for certain warning signs:


Memory loss: It becomes increasingly difficult to remember names and appointments. While everyone forgets things occasionally, requiring repeated reminders or forgetting things after extremely short intervals should trigger an alarm.


Difficulty in performing routine tasks: Day-to-day tasks such as a trip to the grocery store can become challenging. A person with Alzheimer’s disease can get lost even while travelling on a familiar route.


Time and place related confusion: People with Alzheimer’s disease find it difficult to remember what day of the week or what season it is. They may lose track of time and find themselves unable to remember what they were doing on a particular day.


Difficulty in solving problems: Routine tasks that require problem-solving skills can become challenging. These include balancing a check book or planning a monthly budget.


Visual disturbances: People with Alzheimer’s disease often have difficulty reading or determining color and contrast. They also find it difficult to judge distances, which can prove especially dangerous while driving.


Decline in conversational skills: It becomes difficult to find the right words to use in the middle of a conversation. People with Alzheimer’s disease may break off suddenly from a conversation and may find it difficult to keep track of what is being discussed.


Withdrawal from work and self-care: There may be a slow withdrawal from daily work-related activities as well as hobbies. There may be a preference to stay alone. Routine self-care tasks such as bathing and grooming are neglected.


Changes in mood: People with Alzheimer’s disease may come across as being easily irritated, depressed or anxious. Changes to their daily routines and unfamiliar situations can upset them tremendously.


If you notice that you or a loved one has any of the above signs, you should visit a physician for evaluation. While there is no complete cure for Alzheimer’s disease, modern medicine has developed ways to slow disease progression and provide relief from symptoms. Early diagnosis can go a long way in helping you achieve a better quality of life.


REFERENCES

1. Lava N. Alzheimer's Disease Warning Signs: When to Call a Doctor. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/early-warning-signs-when-to-call-the-doctor-about-alzheimers. Published 2017. Accessed July 21, 2019.

2. Hansen K. 10 Signs of Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/alzheimers-disease/signs-of-early-onset-alzheimers#support. Published 2016. Accessed July 21, 2019.

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