Alzheimer’s disease causes disruption to personality, cognition, memory and other functions. It usually starts in the 40s or 50s, although there are no hard and fast rules because everybody is different. The first indicators are problems with remembering the most basic things.
There are many typical memory problems associated with the early stages of Alzheimer’s. For example, you may forget an important appointment or event, but remember it after the date has passed. You may find it hard to balance your check book or add up figures when working out what bills you have to pay.
You might ask the same questions over and over because you can’t remember having asked them or the answers, even though you may have already been given them several times before. You might forget names of family and close friends and then remember them later. You can forget what day it is, how to use the TV remote control or how to cook your favorite food.
Nevertheless, you should know that Alzheimer’s isn’t a black and white disease. Memory can come and go easily and without warning and so it often leaves people confused because of the things that have been forgotten.
You may want to go somewhere but forget how to get there or when you arrive, you may have forgotten why you were going there to begin with. People suffering from Alzheimer’s disease can have problems planning or doing the simplest things.
Thirteen percent of Americans over 65 have Alzheimer’s and 50% of those over 85 have it. In the US, Alzheimer’s is the fifth leading cause of death in people over 65. One third of all senior citizens die from Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia.
Alzheimer’s can be genetic so if your family has a history of it, you should tell your doctor. It is important to understand that there are other reasons why you may suffer from memory loss and these include liver, thyroid or kidney problems or a vitamin B12 deficiency. Spotting the signs can help diagnose the problem earlier and determine whether it is Alzheimer’s or not.
Other symptoms to watch out for include: mood swings, problems with speaking and forgetfulness. As the disease slowly progresses, further symptoms can start to manifest themselves. These include: disturbed sleep, disorientation, delusions, hallucinations, repetitive or obsessive behavior, urinary and/or bowel incontinence and the belief you have experienced or done something you haven’t done.
You may have trouble working out the right words to use in a conversation. Sometimes it can be hard to properly judge distance, colors and reading. This can cause serious problems if you drive. You may misplace things and be unable to find them again. For example, you might put your wallet in the fridge.
It is essential to be wary of any unusual symptoms you may experience at any stage of your life and consult your doctor if concerned. If you catch it early enough, you have great chances to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease for many years.