Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disease that has no cure. It is the most common type of dementia and it particularly affects people in older age groups. The onset of Alzheimer’s disease is slow and the symptoms worsen with the passage of time. If the disease is diagnosed early, there is a better chance for medical intervention with an aim to delay the progression and enhance the quality of life of the patient.
The following is a list of 10 symptoms or warning signs of the disease that a person must watch out for:
Loss of Memory that Affects Everyday Life
Frequent memory lapses such as forgetting how to accomplish a task that the person is actually very familiar with, forgetting the steps of one’s favorite activity or game, forgetting the directions to a common location that is otherwise very familiar, or forgetting information that has been provided repeatedly are a primary warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
Difficulties in Tasks that Require Concentration
If there is a change in one’s capacity to make a systematic plan and follow it, or get confused with dates, places, timings and anything else that is numerical or system-oriented in nature, such as paying household bills or even cooking an elaborate dish that one is very familiar with, this could be a symptom of AD.
Challenges in Vision and Perception
Any picture or moving image that requires some mental concentration to comprehend may not be clearly understood by someone who is experiencing the onset of Alzheimer’s. In some cases, the patient may even get confused on seeing his or her own image in the mirror.
Poor Judgment of Distances
Driving may become a risky activity once Alzheimer’s disease has begun. There may be a difficulty in judging the distances and spaces reasonably. The brain may not be able to estimate the gaps and distances with reasonable accuracy.
Speech and Listening Difficulties
A sudden development of challenges in speech, particularly with long, complex or new words, may be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Difficulties in reading as well as writing of words or sentences that one was previously familiar with may also be indicative of the onset of Alzheimer’s.
Habit of Frequent Repetition
If a person begins to repeat or narrate the same facts, events or experiences frequently, without realizing that it has been told to other people several times before, it may be due to the triggering of Alzheimer’s disease in the brain.
Inability to Act Instinctively in Obvious Situations
If something is burning on the gas stove, any healthy person would instinctively act to switch off the gas. However, if the person gets confused about what course of action to take in such situations, this could be a symptom of the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Experiencing Bouts of Silence
If a healthy person suddenly begins to undergo prolonged and unexplained bouts of silence, it could be related to Alzheimer’s. People around the patient may not realize the reason and may feel the person is brooding or sulking. However, it could be the onset of a serious medical condition and not merely a mood swing.
Sudden Changes in Personality and Behavior
With the onset of Alzheimer’s, some people may become more anxious, short tempered or irritated over small issues, or may suddenly begin to disbelieve and distrust everyone around them, or may become obstinate beyond the limits of reason, or may start avoiding social gatherings. These sudden and specific personality, behavioral and temperamental changes should not be dismissed merely as mood swings. These may be the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Other Specific Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
An Alzheimer’s patient may typically reveal an inability to trace his own steps. He may misplace personal items or leave them wherever he goes, or he may replace things in the wrong places, and may even start imagining others as stealers of his personal things. Sudden poor performance at work and uncharacteristic silence in social settings may also be a symptom of this disease.