Thursday, January 19, 2012

Reprinted from Senior Health

Alzheimer’s Disease is a form of dementia that most often strikes people over the age of 65, although it is possible to occur at an earlier stage in life. It is incurable, and while treatments do exist, they generally have little effect on the disease’s progression. The best hope may be to recognize Alzheimer’s at its earliest stages in order to make the daily challenges of the sufferer less burdensome. Here are six common signs of Alzheimer’s.

1.Memory loss: Trouble remembering simple things is perhaps the most commonly-known symptom of Alzheimer’s. While some difficulty with memory is normal as a person ages, the problem is much worse in a sufferer of Alzheimer’s. The trouble extends to simple tasks that are part of everyday life, including things like not remembering where one recently put the car keys, or repeatedly asking someone the same question.

2.Problems following a plan or completing a familiar task: A person with Alzheimer’s will likely lose cognitive skills, which can make it hard to “use their brain.” It may suddenly become more difficult to solve crossword puzzles or cook a familiar dish. They may have trouble finding the way home from a place they visit often, or following the rules of a favorite game. This cognitive deterioration will also lead to problems doing multiple things at once.

3.Losing track of location or time: Someone suffering from Alzheimer’s will often have trouble with the details of the time and place in which they exist. This can be as simple as forgetting where the kitchen garbage can is. Or they may lose track entirely of what day it is or where they are, and forget significant events in their own lives and the world around them. Often they will only understand what is occurring in their immediate presence, and sometimes not even that. These symptoms will vary, and memory can temporarily return as quickly as it disappears.

4.Difficulty speaking or writing: As the brain degrades, those with Alzheimer’s will often experience trouble with their words, both when writing and when speaking. They may have trouble remembering the name of a familiar person or thing, may use the wrong word for something or find previously familiar words difficult to pronounce. They may jumble many words up so that though they think they are communicating, they are actually speaking nonsense.

5.Moodiness or personality changes: While changes in mood are expected as one ages, those suffering from Alzheimer’s may have more drastic changes than normal that can disrupt their daily life. They may find themselves apathetic, no longer enjoying things they previously did, such as hobbies or favorite foods. However this can extend to relationships as well, as the sufferer becomes withdrawn from their social life, and even fearful or anxious towards the people around them.

6.Making poor decisions: A common symptom of Alzheimer’s is a decrease in one’s judgment. The sufferer may have difficulty recognizing danger in common situations, such as crossing a busy street or using tools. They may also exercise poor judgment with their money and become susceptible to scams, because they are unable to understand when someone is taking advantage of them.

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