One of the most important things that we can educate ourselves about with regard to brain health is knowledge concerning some of the well-known Alzheimer's warning signs. Given how Alzheimer's disease brings fear and dread in many of us owing to its debilitating effects, it is only proper that we pay attention to ourselves and our loved ones as they approach the age where Alzheimer's disease typically manifests itself. In this post, we will list some of these common symptoms so you can immediately talk to your doctor if you ever notice that you, or a family member, is exhibiting some or all of these warning signals.
1 - Memory loss. It is fairly common to forget things every now and then, but when it becomes pervasive and regular, it should raise serious alarm when concerning an elderly individual. Differentiating the normal from the abnormal may be tricky but there are ways that you can do it. When someone forgets information that you would expect them to easily remember such as their birthday, anniversary or other personal information they have known all their life, it can be a sign of the onset of Alzheimer's disease. It's one thing for a person to wake up one day and forget that someone in the family is celebrating their birthday; it's altogether a different story when you ask that person what his or her birthday is and they do not remember.
2 - Diminishing problem-solving skills. Alzheimer's warning signs also impact cognitive processes and not just memory retention. This can manifest in the form of a disruptive inability to plan or solve problems including very basic ones. For example, if a person is finding it hard to balance their check book, which they have always easily been able to do, then you know there is a potential problem that could be caused by the onset of Alzheimer's.
3 - Confusion. The ability to keep track of directions, or lack thereof, is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's warning signs. This applies not only to physical directions but, as already suggested in memory loss, time. If a person manifests inability to find their way home or if they are losing track of dates and time, then this can be a serious case for worry.
4 - Inability to hold or follow conversations. This is closely linked to cognitive functions that are impaired with the onset of Alzheimer's. Maintaining conversations actually requires a complex set of cognitive processes that helps an individual track the different topics that come about in discussion. People who stop mid-sentence and suddenly express that they don't have an idea about the topic being discussed are already manifesting some Alzheimer's warning signs that need to be checked out by a doctor.
5 - Mood changes. This may be a far less obvious warning sign but it remains true nonetheless. There is often the perception that as people age, they become more irritable and withdrawn from social interactions. Indeed this is true; however when it begins to seriously impact mood and personality or altogether leads to withdrawal from typical family gatherings, this may be a sign that something serious is happening and that an appointment with the doctor is already necessary.
While it is painful to admit that there is little we can do once Alzheimer's has set in, being aware of these Alzheimer's warning signs can help build hope that early detection can help doctors work out a means to at least delay the progress of the illness. There are now a number of studies and experimental drugs developed to achieve this. Early detection is crucial so that the treatment of the disease with these experimental methods can begin at a very early stage so that they have a better chance to work. Knowledge of how to deal with the early warning signs will bond a family closer as a loved one suffers through the medical problems of Alzheimer's disease.
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