Alzheimer’s Early Detection

There is nothing scarier than being disoriented or lost. Time seems to stand still and you start to panic until you finally get your bearings, or a little help. Now imagine if that was an everyday part of your life. Dementia is terrifying and life altering. Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia among the elderly. While there is many diseases and conditions that can cause dementia, none is more prevalent than Alzheimer’s. In fact 5.3 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the majority of which are over the age of 65. That doesn’t mean that Alzheimer’s related dementia is of no concern to younger Americans. While learning the causes and effects of Alzheimer’s is an ongoing learning process, most medical professionals agree that the key to prevention lies in early detection. Listed below eight are ways to detect early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer related dementia:

1.) Change in mood and/or personality: A person can become irritable and confused. They can display attitudes of suspicion or become angry or anxious and depressed. This symptom is often overlooked because of typical expectancies of moodiness as we age.

2.) Withdrawal from social activity: This second symptom is almost a direct result of the first one. They could stop participating in social settings because they have grown depressed or irritable.

3.) Difficulty completing familiar tasks: People with Alzheimer’s may find it difficult to perform everyday tasks, or be unable to drive to familiar locations. They can forget appointments and daily responsibilities or the rules to a favorite card game.

4.) New Problems in writing or speaking: This is so much more than forgetting a descriptive word. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following a conversation. They may repeat themselves or struggle with vocabulary.

5.) Decreased or poor judgement: People developing Alzheimer’s related dementia may begin showing poor judgement. They may spend large amounts of money on things like infomercials. They may pay less attention to personal appearance and grooming.

6.) Misplacing or losing things: People with Alzheimer’s may struggle with returning items to their original location. Food may end up in the cabinet and dishes in the refrigerator. They may also have trouble retracing their steps in order to find things of importance.

7.) Confusion with time or place: People with Alzheimer’s can lose all track of time. They can get confused as to what day of the week or month it is. They can lose track of where they are or how they got there. They may have trouble understanding things that aren’t happening right now.

8.) Difficulty planning and problem solving: People with Alzheimer’s may have difficulty balancing their checkbook or following a simple cooking recipe. They could display an inability to make a plan or concentrate.

Developing dementia can be scary and overwhelming. It is important that as you notice slight changes in the ability to think critically, in yourself or in a loved one, you have an honest conversation with your doctor in order for them to point you to the proper specialist. Remember, early detection is the key to prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s related dementia.

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