How To Recognize Symptoms of Alzheimer's

Many changes come about as you age, so sometimes it can be difficult to tell if the memory lapses you are experiencing are a normal part of getting older or could be the signs of something more serious, like Alzheimer's Disease. While the differences can be very subtle, there are some warning signs that you shouldn't ignore. If you are concerned about your health, here are some symptoms of Alzheimer's to be on the lookout for:

  1. Forgetfulness. Some memory loss is common in older people, but if you can't remember things you just learned on a regular basis, this could be a sign that something is wrong.

  2. Difficulty completing everyday tasks. If regular responsibilities such as getting dressed, cooking dinner or paying your bills suddenly seem much more challenging than they used to, and you find it hard to process all of the steps involved, you should tell your doctor as soon as possible.

  3. Having trouble locating the right word. Frequently being unable to remember the word you want to use is another sign of Alzheimer's. If it happens once in a while, it may be no big deal, but if it happens on a regular basis, you should get this symptom checked out. Some people with this disease find themselves having to describe an object -- rather than name it -- because they can't remember what it is called. This makes it difficult to have a conversation.

  4. Becoming disoriented. While forgetting where you were going occasionally isn't that unusual, if you get lost in your own neighborhood, or suddenly don't recognize your surroundings, this could indicate a problem.

  5. Loss of judgment. If you are suffering from Alzheimer's, you might suddenly lose your ability to make smart decisions. For instance, you could begin wearing summer clothes in the middle of winter and forget to put on a coat, or you may find yourself giving money away to strangers.

  6. Difficulty with numbers. People with Alzheimer's may have increased challenges balancing their checkbook, dialing a phone number or counting out their money to pay for their groceries. If this describes your recent behavior, pay attention to whether this seems to happen more frequently.

  7. Losing items more often. You may find it harder to find things in your home. People with this condition can put everyday objects away in unusual places and not remember. For instance, you might put your eyeglasses in the freezer, or find your medication stowed in your silverware drawer instead of in your bathroom cabinet. But realize that simply misplacing your keys once in a while happens to all of us and is not necessarily a sign that something is wrong.

  8. Mood swings. If you are experiencing severe mood swings with no reason behind them, this could be related to Alzheimer's, or it could be the sign of another physical, hormonal or psychological problem. Talk to your doctor to see if you should be concerned.

  9. Personality changes . If your easy-going personality is suddenly becoming angry, suspicious or confused, this could be a sign of dementia. Talk to family members to see if they have noticed the changes and seek medical help.

  10. Reduced energy level. People with Alzheimer's often act lethargic, wanting to sleep more than usual or veg out in front of the television. Monitor your energy level and if you notice a drastic change, mention this to your doctor and rule out any other physical conditions that could be causing it, as well.


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