Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the brain. It is the most common form of dementia and it affects millions of Americans. Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by gradual memory loss and cognitive decline, as well as changes in mood and behavior. As the disease progresses, symptoms will worsen until the person requires significant care and assistance with daily tasks. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference, but in order to be diagnosed early, you need to be aware of what red flags to look out for. If you’re in need of more information, read on to learn about the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
What are the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease?
There are several stages of Alzheimer’s, but recognizing the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease is a critical step in managing and halting its progression. The earliest symptoms may be subtle changes to the individual’s memory, thinking, or behavior. It is crucial to note that these changes are not part of normal aging and should not be dismissed as such. Common warning signs include difficulty remembering recent activities or conversations, confusion about time and place, increased difficulty with problem-solving and planning tasks, and disorientation when traveling in familiar locations.
Other behavioral aspects can also present themselves including:
- Changes in personality along with irritability and depression
- Decreased ability to focus on complex tasks
- Decreased ability to communicate effectively both verbally and non-verbally
- Withdrawal from social situations they used to enjoy
- Acting out of character by exhibiting suspiciousness or aggression towards people they know
- Showing poor judgment when making decisions that could affect their safety
If you notice any of these symptoms in a friend or loved one, the best thing to do is to take them to see a doctor. There is no single test to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. Doctors typically use a combination of tests and procedures to make a diagnosis, like lab tests, medical history, a physical exam, and brain imaging. In order to rule out other possible causes of symptoms, doctors may also conduct tests to assess a person’s cognitive function, including tests of memory, language, problem-solving ability, and attention span.
How can you help a loved one with Alzheimer’s?
Now that you know a little more about how to identify early warning signs of Alzheimer’s, let’s discuss some of the ways that you can assist a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. For example, you may want to invest in home modifications for accessibility. Home modifications can range from simple changes like installing grab bars in the bathroom or widening doorways so they can accommodate a wheelchair to more complex modifications like retrofitting a house with an elevator or installing ramps to make it easier to get around.
Staying socially engaged is a crucial part of living a healthy and fulfilling life, especially for those with Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows that social engagement can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, and improve cognitive functioning and mental health. Social activities can also reduce anxiety and depression, improve communication skills, and provide an outlet for meaningful and enjoyable experiences. Try to find ways that you can socialize with your loved one or support them as they participate in group therapy or activities.
Overall, it is of utmost importance to be aware of the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, as prompt diagnosis and treatment can provide the best chance of delaying the progression of the condition. Early warning signs may vary from person to person, but some common indicators include memory loss, difficulty with language, and changes in behavior. Being aware of these signs and seeking medical advice if they arise can provide a better quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s disease. If you follow the advice in this article, you’ll be prepared to assist anyone in your life who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.