As we age, we can become forgetful. This is something that we might notice ourselves, or it could be something that a family member or friend may spot first. Forgetting things or misplacing them is not in itself a cause for concern, however, when added to other symptoms they may be symptomatic of Alzheimer’s disease. Knowing what to look for will be helpful in spotting the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, and, once spotted, it may be possible to put measures in place to manage the effects of the condition on your life.
In this article, we’ll discuss seven of the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
1. Loss of Memory
Perhaps the biggest signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss. Forgetting something that someone said a few days previously is not necessarily a sign that warrants any concern, however, when someone forgets something that was said minutes ago, this could be a sign of Alzheimer’s.
Other problems surrounding memory loss could be that a person forgets important dates, or repeatedly needs to ask the same question because they’ve already forgotten the answer.
Alzheimer’s is a disease that progresses over several years during which symptoms of dementia will gradually worsen.
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, individuals may experience mild memory loss but by the later stages, the individual may struggle to hold or a conversation or be completely confused about every aspect of their environment.
The disease is believed to stop the nerve cells in the brain from functioning as they should. Often, a problem with nerve cells in one area of the brain can cause problems in another area.
2. Confusion Over Time and Place
Forgetting why you went from one room into the next is a common phenomenon, however, when someone becomes confused over why they are somewhere a lot of the time, then this could be one of the warning signs of Alzheimer’s.
Another sign that could indicate the start of Alzheimer’s is being constantly confused about what time it is. This could mean thinking that it’s breakfast time in the evening or even being unsure of what day or month it is.
3. Challenges in Problem Solving and Planning
Problem-solving skills will vary from person-to-person, however, when a person has difficulties carrying out planning and problem-solving tasks for things that they’ve been doing for many years, this is a potential symptom of Alzheimer’s.
A person may become confused at how they manage their money or have trouble doing things like following a recipe.
4. Trouble Completing Familiar Tasks
There are many tasks that we take for granted in life. Most of these we’ve been doing for so long that they become automatic or like second nature. These might include driving a car, cooking, shopping, or making a cup of coffee.
But one of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s is that even straightforward tasks that are natural to us could cause confusion. These may even include tasks that are as basic as tying your shoelaces or using a phone.
5. Problems With Speaking and Writing
A problem that many people experiencing the early signs of Alzheimer’s can experience is that they struggle to find the right words to say. Alternatively, they may start a sentence and stop partway through having forgotten what they were talking about.
Problems finding the right words is not uncommon and as the disease progresses it can get much worse. On occasions, it can lead to a complete breakdown in the ability to communicate effectively.
6. Misplacing Things
Everyone misplaces things from time-to-time, and this, in itself, is not a cause for concern. When this becomes a constant theme, then it may be representative of the fact that an individual may have Alzheimer’s disease.
Often, Alzheimer’s sufferers will put things away in strange places. They may misplace things in areas that an item doesn’t belong. There may be some confusion over what an item is, who it belongs to, or where it should go. This could lead to items going missing for long periods of time.
7. Changes in Personality or Mood
One of the hardest things to deal with in Alzheimer’s sufferers can be a change in personality or mood. On many occasions, Alzheimer’s disease can take a mild-mannered person and make them moody and cantankerous.
Not only can Alzheimer’s disease affect people’s moods making them angry or mean, but it can also make them fearful or paranoid of others. They may suspect those around them are not acting in their best interests and this fear could cause them to act with aggression.
There are other ways that Alzheimer’s disease can affect a person’s personality or mood. During the earlier stages, they may become withdrawn and less able to engage with other people.
Apathy is something that a person with the early signs of Alzheimer’s may demonstrate. Individuals with Alzheimer’s may also experience depression.
What to Do If You Spot the Signs of Alzheimer’s
Understanding the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s is important if you are to catch it early. Although there is no known cure for the disease, there are treatments and there is support out there from various groups.
If you spot the signs of Alzheimer’s either in yourself or in someone that you’re close to, you should get in touch with your doctor for a full assessment.
Get in touch with our pharmacy team today to find out what support we can offer.