“Where’re my glasses?” you ask. Then, you realize that they were on the top of your head all along. Or do you remember your grandparents always asking for your name, as if they did not know you all their life? Forgetfulness can come with age; however, how can you distinguish aging with Alzheimer’s disease?
Get your pen and papers ready and know for sure if you or a family member has Alzheimer’s disease by identifying the tell-tale signs.
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s is a disease that impairs a person’s neurological functions. Regarded as one of the most common conditions older people suffer from, Alzheimer’s usually affects older people aged 60 years or older. However, there are also younger people who suffer from this condition.
Although certain genetic factors increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, only 1 percent of cases of Alzheimer’s are caused by genetic factors. — Michelle Braun Ph.D., ABPP-CN
Alzheimer’s happens when neurons in the brain become dysfunctional. While age can naturally cause wear and tear to brain cells, the process accelerates when added proteins store up in between neurons, making it more difficult for brain cells to communicate with each other. This spreads throughout the brain, and a breakdown of the brain’s functions happens as a result.
Sadly, Alzheimer’s slowly takes over someone’s life. Its symptoms get worse over time. No cures for this disease are known yet. In the meantime, caregivers and relatives can be trained to make life easier for the patient.
Having Problems In Recalling Recent Activities
One of the first things to notice for the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease is when one is having problems in recalling recent activities. Early-stage Alzheimer’s impairs the side of the brain responsible for storing new memories. Thus, when someone suddenly does something all over again, with no recollection that he/she finished it already, consider it a red flag.
Having Trouble Completing Normal, Everyday Tasks
For people who have Alzheimer’s, completing their everyday tasks can be a chore. Even if they were doing these things for years, remembering these tasks can become very difficult for people with Alzheimer’s. If you or a loved one experience this problem, it is a tell-tale sign for Alzheimer’s.
Suddenly Withdrawing From Social Circles
People with Alzheimer’s disease develop trust issues because of their condition. They suddenly have problems in understanding social conventions and have trouble relating with others. Thus, they choose to withdraw from other people.
Having Trouble Putting Together Words Or Sentences
When you notice someone is having trouble composing sentences, this is one of the tell-tale signs for Alzheimer’s in its advanced stages.
Losing the ability to put together coherent words or sentences means that that person’s learned speech patterns are slowly slipping away.
Having Trouble Navigating (Getting From One Place To Another)
Have you noticed that you or a loved one is constantly getting lost? Do you feel it is as if you are navigating in an entirely new area every time you go out of the house? You or your loved one could have Alzheimer’s disease.
Many of my patients who are moving through middle age talk with me about their fears of losing memory, mental clarity, and cognitive functions with age—and of their concerns about Alzheimer’s in particular. — Michael J Breus Ph.D.
What Should You Do?
Are all these tell-tale signs already happening to you or your loved one? It may be time that you visit a healthcare provider for a thorough check-up. There is a high possibility that you or your loved one indeed has from Alzheimer’s disease. Here are some caregiving and self-care activities you can do in the meantime.
● Get Enough Rest
Having a good night’s rest has its benefits. People with Alzheimer’s disease are usually anxious or even paranoid. A good night’s rest can help you or your loved one cope better with anxiety symptoms.
● Get Treated
Scientists have yet to find a permanent cure for Alzheimer’s, but treatment and medication can help in mitigating the symptoms from getting much worse.
One current theory suggests that the build-up of plaques is a precursor (or biomarker) for Alzheimer’s disease, and that restful sleep is a time for housekeeping when these build-ups get removed. — Mylea Charvat, Ph.D.
In the end, doctors and support from family members can help people with Alzheimer’s live their lives normally. Early detection and mitigation of symptoms can prolong the onset of the more aggressive side of Alzheimer’s disease.