Alzheimer's Disease: Potential Signs and Symptoms
Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer’s Disease: Potential Signs and Symptoms
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease for which there is no cure. Physicians have not been able to definitively diagnosis the disease until after death. One hundred percent confirmation has historically only been available through autopsy. Never-the-less, early detection and treatment is the best defense against the symptomology. The following is a list of the typical warning signs of AD. If you are experiencing two or more, seek medical advice as soon as possible. There are plenty of diagnostics that may give your physician the ability to apply a reasonable diagnosis and plan for intervention.
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1. Short term memory loss that interferes with daily functioning. The daily stress of life can increase one’s memory lapses. But persons with AD have more memory lapses than most. The short term memory typically fails well before the long term memory. This is because people typically forget in reverse order of the way they learn, with the most recent acquired memories lost first. That is why many persons with AD can remember details of their childhood as if they happened yesterday, but cannot remember what they had for breakfast, recognize their grown children, or find their way home.
2. Disorientation to time and place. Over time, day/ night confusion become more and more common. Sufferers often experience insomnia, believe they can shop, go to work, church or dinner at 2:00 am, and often have increased difficulty navigating in once familiar surroundings.
3. Declining ability to apply reason and logic to daily situations. For example, they may not understand why they cannot offer rides to strangers, be confrontational with authority figures, or borrow a cup of sugar from the neighbor at 4:30 am.
4. May become lost in familiar surroundings.
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5. Forgets how to perform familiar tasks and experiencing a gradual decline in executive functioning (i.e. balancing a checkbook, making lists, shopping, etc.)
6. Problems with language including expressive and receptive aphasia. This means that there are gradual impairments in the ability to understand and process incoming information and difficulty with word-finding and self-expression.
7. Changing in mood or personality. Persons with AD often become withdrawn, depressed or angry as a result of their many losses and their feelings of being increasingly overwhelmed by their surroundings. Persons often begin to withdraw from social situations, work and other events which cause them to interact with others.
8. Loss of initiative. Due to memory loss and feelings of depression, persons may simply forget to do certain critical things such as change their clothing, grocery shop, take their medications, engage in hobbies, or go to work or volunteer jobs.
9. Increasing lack of good judgment. For example, one may wear slippers and a housecoat to go out to the mailbox in 20 degree (f) weather, or deliberately lock the door behind them even though they did not bring their keys.
10. Misplacing things. We all misplace our keys once in awhile. The difference is that persons with AD misplace items with increasing frequency and often feel paranoid, blaming others for stealing their belongings. Paranoia increases as the disease progresses and can often lead to catastrophic reactions to relatively benign events.
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