How to Recognize the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

A common concern of older people as well as their children and caregivers is how to recognize the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.  When I used to speak to community groups, the most common question was “How do we know what’s normal aging and what’s Alzheimer’s disease?”

In this easy-to-read article, Dr.  Salvatore Lacagnina , vice president of health and wellness for Lee Memorial Health System in Florida, outlines the symptoms and risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease.

Do you know how to recognize the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease?

Do you know how to recognize the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease?

How to Recognize the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a particular type of dementia that causes a progressive loss of intellectual and social skills severe enough to interfere with day-to-day life. With Alzheimer’s disease, brain cells degenerate and die, causing a steady decline in memory and mental function.

The first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are increasing forgetfulness and mild confusion. Some people notice difficulty remembering things and organizing their thoughts, while others may not recognize that anything is wrong. Over time, memory is impaired and, as the disease progresses, the individual may develop problems speaking, writing, solving problems and making sound judgments.

People with Alzheimer’s also suffer problems with orientation and interpreting spatial relationships. They may lose their sense of what day it is, the time of year, where they are or even their current life circumstances. Alzheimer’s also may disrupt the brain’s ability to interpret what you see, making it difficult to understand your surroundings. Eventually, these problems may lead to getting lost in familiar places. This is one of the reasons folks with Alzheimer’s should not drive.

Responding effectively to everyday problems, such as food burning on the stove or unexpected driving situations, becomes increasingly challenging. Planning and performing familiar tasks becomes a problem. Once-routine activities that require sequential steps, such as planning and cooking a meal or playing a favorite game, become a struggle as the disease progresses. Eventually, people with advanced Alzheimer’s may forget how to perform basic tasks such as dressing and bathing.

Family members also notice changes in personality and behavior. People with Alzheimer’s disease may experience depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, mood swings, distrust in others, increased stubbornness, irritability/aggressiveness, changes in sleeping habits and wandering.

You can read the entire article here.

Have you had to know how to recognize the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease? Share your experiences below.

 

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