10 Common Symptoms of Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive condition that robs you of your memory and other mental functions, such as your behavior and thinking. This is a very common condition with more than 3 million people diagnosed with it each year in the United States.
Alzheimer’s Disease occurs when your brain cells and connections deteriorate and die. It usually affects older people, but there can be an early onset of the disease in some cases. Medications can initially improve the condition, but symptoms persist and become worse.
Symptom 1: Can’t Recognize Others
Do you have problems recognizing your friends and family members? Or what certain items are called or used for? As Alzheimer’s Disease progresses, patients may not recognize their children, grandchildren, spouse, caretake, or friends for years. This is devastating for their loved ones.
Also, they may know what something is, but not know what it does or how to use it. For example, they may pick up a phone, but not know how to use it anymore. Someone with Alzheimer's may start to remove themselves from family gatherings, social events, and other activities because of the changes they experience.
Symptom 2: Memory Loss
Do you suffer from memory loss? Do you forget important dates or events? Do you ask the same questions over and over? Usually, memory loss is one of the first symptoms you notice.
You may need to rely on memory aids, such as notes, writing events on a calendar, or setting reminders via your phone, computer, or other devices. Also, ask family members or your caretaker to remind you of various matters.
Symptom 3: Inability to Learn
Are you unable to learn and retain new faces, names, and tasks? Forget why you went into a specific room? Or forget what you just read or watched on TV?
It is difficult for Alzheimer’s patients to remember newly learned information because this disease changes the part of their brain that affects learning.
Symptom 4: Multi-Step Tasks
Are you unable to perform multi-step tasks that you used to do with minimal effort? Such as changing your clothes, or making dinner? Alzheimer’s patients have difficulty thinking and understanding in order to complete a task that requires multiple steps.
They may have problems with concentrating on a task and take much longer to do it than it took before. Some patients are unable to perform even basic, everyday tasks, such as brushing their teeth. At that point, they may need a caregiver or move into a care facility.
Symptom 5: Hallucinations
Do you suffer from paranoia or hallucinations? These are symptoms that typically occur in the mid- to end-stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, which is a form of dementia.
Basically, someone with Alzheimer’s has a hallucination when they see, hear, smell, taste, or touch something that isn’t there or does not exist.
Symptom 6: Confusion
Is it hard for you to interact with others? Are you unable to find the right words when talking or writing? Do you experience lapses when it comes to your memory, judgement, or thinking?
Those with Alzheimer's may lose track of dates, seasons, and time. They may not be able to understand something that is happening. They can forget where they are, where they are going, or how they got there. The confusion can lead to frustration and anxiety.
Symptom 7: Changes in Behavior
Those with Alzheimer’s Disease can experience mood swings and changes in behavior. They may become aggressive, agitated, irritable, and restless – all of which are usually uncommon and not their typical or previous behavior before they were diagnosed.
They can be confused, depressed, fearful, and anxious. The may be suspicious or become upset, especially when they are out of their comfort zone or if their routine changes.
Symptom 8: Getting Lost
You may hear on the news from time to time about a missing Alzheimer’s patient. If not restrained or watched 24x7, they can wander off and get lost.
Besides them becoming lost, they may lose items or put things in unusual places. And, then forget where they put the items. If they cannot find something, they may even accuse someone else of stealing it.
Symptom 9: Jumbled Speech
Those with Alzheimer's may find it difficult to follow or join a conversation or discussion. When they do talk, they sometimes stop in the middle because they forget what they wanted to say, they do not know how to continue, or they may repeat what they say.
They can have problems with vocabulary, finding the right words, or calling items and people by the wrong name.
Symptom 10: Loss of Appetite
People with Alzheimer’s do not need to follow a special diet. However, it they lose their appetite or lose weight, that can be concerning.
Encourage them to eat and assist them if necessary. Also, make sure they stay hydrated. If they struggle to swallow, select foods that easily slide down, such as Jell-O or pudding.