By recognizing the early signs of Alzheimer’s, you have a chance to help your loved ones who are at risk and give them an opportunity to live a normal life.
Alzheimer’s disease affects nearly 47 million people all over the world. These numbers are enough to bring forth the grim reality that is this disease. Taking a toll on the elderly, it snatches away whatever little peace they have left during the old age. For this reason, it is important to be aware of the early signs of Alzheimer’s so that you can help your loved ones deal with the disease.
Almost 58% of the Alzheimer affected population resides in low and middle-income countries. However, with the rapidly increasing numbers, this percentage is estimated to rise to 68% by 2050.
Today, experts are focusing their research on treating Alzheimer’s at its most initial stages with such drugs that can reduce the production and accumulation of amyloid beta, a type of protein that combines to form damaging plaque around the brain. It, therefore, becomes essential to undergo a medical consultation to make sure you don’t fall prey to Alzheimer’s.
Here are a few symptoms that will help you detect and identify the early signs of Alzheimer’s.
Loss of memory
One of the most pronounced symptoms of Alzheimer’s is memory loss. People affected with this disease often tend to forget recently learned information. They find it difficult to remember dates, events, and names.
Alzheimer’s can adversely impact the memory and make you question your ability to remember things. Studies have shown that individuals who tend to be more concerned about their memory and thinking power are more likely to develop plaques in the brains that leads to Alzheimer’s and eventually turns into dementia.
Difficulty in managing finances
If a person has trouble managing finances, such as keeping track of bills, transferring money into accounts, etc., there are high chances that these are the early signs of Alzheimer’s. This inability often impairs a person’s ability to differentiate between right and wrong and they resort to unlawful activities such as stealing or banking fraud.
Trouble in making plans
As the executive function of the brain slows down and weakens with age, it hampers the ability to multitask. This inability can either manifest itself as difficulties in accomplishing simple tasks such as making and sticking to planned events, remembering a cooking recipe, or troubles in concentrating on tasks involving numbers. Such people also often make errors while balancing checkbooks.
Problem discerning visual images
Do you find it hard to read the words on a page? Does differentiating between colors look like a difficult task? Do you struggle to perceive depth or judge distances?
If you face these issues, then you probably should consult a doctor for they are the early signs of Alzheimer’s. Such difficulties hamper one’s ability to drive as the vision becomes very weak and hazy.
Routine tasks are no less than a challenge
Alzheimer’s adversely affects your ability to complete even routine chores and tasks such as using the dishwasher or driving to a location you’ve been multiple times before, or even forgetting the rules to the game you play regularly.
Often, Alzheimer’s patients also misplace items by keeping them at odd places and fail to remember where they kept those stuff.
Confusion regarding time and places
Since people with Alzheimer’s find it difficult to remember dates and events, they often tend to lose track of time. Sometimes they end up being in places without having any memory of how they reached there.
Alzheimer’s also impacts one’s ability to understand the course of events that are taking place in real time. People suffering from this disease cannot say if something is taking place in the present or has it already occurred.
Trouble speaking or writing words
A known symptom of Alzheimer’s is a difficulty in speaking or writing words. People tend to lose their grip over vocabulary and have problems in finding the right words to describe things and feelings.
Dr. Reisa Sperling, director of the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, maintains:
“We’ve seen that difficulty following conversations, particularly in a group, can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s.”
It is also a commonplace thing for Alzheimer’s patients to repeat themselves continuously or suddenly pause during a conversation just because they don’t know what to say anymore.
Alzheimer’s often impair your judgment and decision-making abilities. People with Alzheimer’s disease end up making poor decisions – both financial and personal.
Essentially, they become unfocused and entirely detached from their surroundings. Also, such people cannot recognize sarcasm, which is a sign of brain atrophy.
Staying aloof from social gatherings and events
Patients showing early signs of Alzheimer’s tend to lose interest in social activities. According to Dr. Sperling,
“Alzheimer’s-related brain changes can cause apathy, which makes people lose motivation.”
Given the fact that they find it increasingly difficult to follow or participate in a conversation, they choose to avoid social situations such as hanging out with friends and family. Sometimes, they even start losing interest in their favorite hobbies.
Changes in mood is a common occurrence in Alzheimer’s patients. They often battle with confusion, anxiety, depression, and fear. Trusting people becomes difficult as they mostly remain apprehensive and suspicious about others.
A neurological study showed that people who have trouble falling asleep and depicted daytime tiredness complemented with lapses in memory had more traces of the Alzheimer’s disease in their spinal fluid than those who enjoyed a sound sleep at night.