Alzheimer’s disease affects about 5.7 million Americans. It is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. We are familiar with the devastation that Alzheimer's can bring, and we’re also familiar with best practices for those living with the disease. Before a diagnosis is reached, there are a few tell-tale signs of Alzheimer's that we believe everyone should be aware of so they can communicate with their healthcare providers and take steps to potentially prevent the onset of Alzheimer's.
Look for these 10 warnings signs if you’re concerned about Alzheimer's in yourself or a loved one.
Social withdrawal can be a sign of other problems, like depression or anxiety. However, loss of interest in social activities and withdrawal from typical interests or hobbies paired with any of these other symptoms can be a warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
Misplacement of Belongings
It is normal human behavior to misplace things with a busy schedule and many responsibilities.
Where this becomes a bit of a red flag is when the behavior is more of putting things in unusual places. When a person who is typically very organized and particular about where things belong starts to drastically change that behavior, it becomes a concern in relation to Alzheimer’s.
Some of the most prevalent examples of poor judgment as a result of Alzheimer’s are; suddenly giving away large amounts of money, dressing inappropriately for the current weather conditions, and the inability to make sound decisions.
Changes in Mood
These changes are very sudden. Abruptly expressing unexplained anger or sadness can be a sign of Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s-related mood swings are very rapid and typically seem to not root in any kind of stressful, or negative event.
Losing Track of Place and Time
Becoming lost or completely losing track of the day or time can be a scary experience and oftentimes those with Alzheimer's experience a loss of time. A serious warning sign would be forgetting what year it is or becoming lost in familiar areas.
Difficulty in Speaking
Being at a loss for words is not necessarily a warning sign. This symptom is the inability to speak at times, or substituting language for nonsense. A person can also exhibit signs of Alzheimer's through the inability to write coherently.
Memory loss is often one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s and it continues to progress with the disease. Look for early warnings signs like forgetting work responsibilities or confusion with simple things.
Visual changes such as loss of vision or blurry vision, or disorientation because of worsening vision should be taken seriously when a person is exhibiting other signs of the disease.
Difficulty Completing Tasks
Those with Alzheimer’s can find it difficult to complete simple tasks like calculating a tip at a restaurant, or stringing words together because the disease can cause them to lose the ability to think abstractly.
Many times a person struggling with Alzheimer's or exhibiting early warning signs will be found wandering around disoriented or becoming disoriented suddenly.
If you are concerned about the potential onset of Alzheimer’s for you or a loved one, look out for these symptoms and start to make simple changes in your daily life to help to reduce your risk of the disease.