Lately, the fear of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is scary…mainly because they say it is hereditary! Meredith Rodgers put together this article and the infographic to guide people going through this.
There is a form of dementia that results in cognitive and memory loss. According to Alzheimer’s Association, AD is one of the leading causes of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of patients diagnosed with dementia. Dementia is a serious condition that leads to loss of memory and intellectual reasoning which can affect one’s daily life.
Alzheimer’s disease usually results in the death of brain cells, which leads to the decline of memory and cognitive function over a period of time. Initially, patients with this condition are likely to have problems remembering things and mild confusion. In late stages of AD, it can worsen to the point that the patient is unable to converse or reason with people. Patients with Alzheimer’s require full-time support and care from their families and friends so that they can go on with their daily life. Support provided could involve helping them dress up or assistance during meal times.
The main factor contributing to Alzheimer’s disease is aging. As you age, this disease tends to get more severe. Most people who have this condition are above the age of 65. However, it is not normal for older people to have Alzheimer’s disease as they age. About 200,000 citizens of America experience early onset of Alzheimer’s disease while still in their 40s or 50s.
It is difficult to diagnose the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease because doctors don’t look for warning signs in young people. Thus, doctors may wrongly diagnose symptoms of Alzheimer’s for stress. For a successful diagnosis to happen, a comprehensive health evaluation will need to be carried out by a doctor. It is not yet known what causes the early onset of AD. However, scientists believe that specific rare genes that are inherited could play a role. Even though Alzheimer’s disease has no cure, patients with this condition can take treatment to reduce the progression of the disease. This might help them live a happy and fulfilling life.
Early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease
It is normal for people to forget stuff, for example, where you placed the keys. However, if this happens too often, it could be an early warning sign of AD. Most of the time people who have problems remembering things also experience difficulty in communication, focus, and reasoning. If this happens to you or your loved one, you will need to visit a doctor for medical evaluation. A doctor will perform a thorough evaluation to try and identify the root cause of your memory problems. If successfully diagnosed, Alzheimer’s patients may commence treatment to help improve their quality of life. The following are the most common early signs of AD which you need to look out for.
- Memory loss
Difficulty remembering stuff like names or new information is an early warning sign of AD. Initially, your short-term memory will be affected but with time, you may have problems with your long-term memory as well. Hence, you might find yourself having problems remembering important events that happened in your life. In addition, it is common to find people with memory loss asking the same question repeatedly. This is because they cannot store information in their memory.
- Problems communicating
This is another early warning sign of Alzheimer’s. People with AD normally have problems finding the right words to explain their themselves. Therefore, it can be hard to chat with someone with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Difficulty conducting routine tasks
If you have Alzheimer’s disease, you might find it difficult doing routine tasks like cooking or playing a game like chess. Doing tasks that seemed obvious before might seem a challenge to do them now.
- Personality and mood change
You may experience changes in mood such as depression as an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s. Also, this condition may result in personality changes, for example, going from being a shy to outgoing person.
- Difficulty solving problems
If you have problems making decisions or solving problems, it could be an early sign of AD. For example, you might find it hard to follow a recipe or pay your bills. Also, you might find yourself placing your stuff in the wrong place. For example your cell phone in a fridge.
That means you might lose interest in activities you used to enjoy, including your hobbies. If you used to like going out and having fun with friends, now you might find it less amusing. Also, you may find yourself spending less time with your loved ones.
If you experience one or more of these symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have AD. However, you should not just ignore symptoms like memory or cognitive problems. The best thing to do is to visit a doctor so that they can determine if your signs and symptoms are as a result of Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s Disease Signs and Symptoms, courtesy of GeriatricNursing.org