Sometimes, people experience symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease for a long time without even realizing that these symptoms are not a part of the normal aging process. Here are ten early warning signs of Alzheimer’s to help you determine whether you, or a loved one, might be developing Alzheimer’s disease.
- Confusion About Time and/or Place
An individual with early Alzheimer’s symptoms may completely lose track of time and dates. They may also become easily disoriented, even in familiar places.
- Difficulty Carrying Out Familiar Tasks
Daily tasks that you have been performing for years may suddenly become very challenging. You may have trouble remembering the sequential steps in preparing a meal or find that you’re unable to drive a familiar route.
- Difficulty Problem Solving
People with early Alzheimer’s symptoms are likely to have trouble:
- Completing mathematical calculations
- Developing and carrying out a plan
- Problem solving.
- Disinterest in Daily Activities
It’s common for an individual with early Alzheimer’s symptoms to begin to withdraw from social activities and even to become disinterested in activities at home such as housework or hobbies.
- Memory Loss that Significantly Affects Daily Life
One of the most common early Alzheimer’s symptoms is greater-than-average memory loss. This may include:
- Being unable to recall information at the time or later on
- Forgetting information that you should know
- Relying heavily on memory aides (i.e. notes or family members)
- Repeatedly asking for the same information.
- Misplacing Items
Although everyone loses things occasionally, if you find you are constantly looking for misplaced items this may be an indication of Alzheimer’s disease. You may discover that you’re placing items in places they don’t belong (putting your wallet in the freezer, for example).
- Mood and Behavioral Changes
Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s often include frequent, dramatic mood swings.
- Personality Changes
Personality changes are similar to mood and behavioral changes, but are more permanent. The individual may begin to act in a way that is completely out of character for them, perhaps becoming depressed or withdrawn.
- Poor or Reduced Judgment
People with symptoms of Alzheimer’s may surprise their friends and family with their lack of sound judgment. For example, they may fail to recognize the importance of personal hygiene or of wearing a jacket out in the cold.
- Trouble Communicating
You may find you are easily confused while listening to a conversation or trying to make conversation. You may be constantly “searching for the right word” and even forgetting simple words that you used to know.
Are Your Symptoms Alzheimer’s?
You may not even realize you have these early Alzheimer’s symptoms. A friend or family member may be the one to inform you of the extent of your symptoms. If these Alzheimer’s warning signs sound familiar, consult your doctor.
Alzheimer’s Association. (n.d.) 10 signs of Alzheimer’s. Retrieved April 26, 2010, from http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_10_signs_of_alzheimers.asp?type=more_information.
Alzheimer Society of Canada. (n.d.) Alzheimer’s disease â€“ 10 warning signs. Retrieved April 26, 2010, from http://www.alzheimer.ca/english/disease/warningsigns.htm.
Lunde, A. (2009). 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s. Retrieved April 26, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/warning-signs-of-alzheimers/MY01036.