- What is Alzheimer's disease?
- What is the cause of Alzheimer’s?
- What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s?
- How is Alzheimer’s diagnosed?
- How is Alzheimer’s treated?
- What are the risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s?
- The seven stages of Alzheimer’s and how to deal with them
- Alzheimer's - Some further questions you may have …
What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s?
What are the early signs of Alzheimer’s?
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s are generally mild in the beginning and progress over time, however rapid progression can be lessened through early detection.
Everyone who develops the disease has common symptoms, but, keep in mind that no one person is the same and a certain person or loved one may display unlikely or unusual symptoms given the health and history of the patient. If you or a loved one start to develop any of the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s, it is best that you consult with your doctor.
Early signs normally start with lapses in memory. The person may have a difficulty remembering something new or trying to remember recent occurrences. The part of the brain that is responsible for recalling day-to-day events is called the hippocampus, failing to recall recent events may be the result of damage to this area of the brain.
In early stages of the disease, patients can still remember events that took place on a long-term basis, but battle with recent events.
Day-to-day memory loss can include:
- Losing everyday items around the house such as keys
- Having trouble to find the right word to say in conversation
- Getting lost in familiar places
- Forgetting recent events and conversations
- Forgetting special dates or appointments
- Irritability and anxiousness
It is important to note that some of the instances above like misplacing keys or grasping for a word in a conversation are often normal for healthy people when they occur as isolated events, and may often be symptomatic of stress and/or fatigue. Lapses in memory, however, become of concern when they are regular, chronic occurrences that affect one’s life significantly.
Follow-on stages of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer patients may go on to develop any of the following issues after they have already experienced the above memory loss symptoms:
- Struggling to talk easily in conversation, losing their train of thought and word-usage.
- Visuospatial issues resulting in having trouble seeing things in three dimensions, such as walking up or down stairs or navigating parking lots.
- Having trouble in following a sequence of events such as playing a board game or cooking a meal.
- Losing track of day-to-day activities or dates.
- Withdrawing from loved ones and losing interest in activities and hobbies they once enjoyed.
More severe symptoms
These commonly occur in the final stages of Alzheimer’s. The disease has usually been diagnosed before these symptoms become prominent.
- Loss of response in conversation, completely unaware of their surroundings.
- Needing assistance in all daily activities, they may even lose their ability to swallow.
If you or your loved one starts to exhibit any of the above symptoms, it is best to seek help from a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis.
The typical progression of the disease is as follows:
- Mild symptoms, early stage – two to four-years’ time frame.
- Moderate symptoms, middle stage – two to 10 years’ time frame.
- Severe symptoms, late stage – one to three years’ time frame.