Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most frightening diseases of our time. But with early diagnosis, it is possible to improve a patient’s life. A simple set of rules that explains the possible symptoms while dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s will help you recognize the warning signs in time.
Bright Side collected 11 features of human behavior that are associated with the presence of Alzheimer’s disease along with common things that occur due to stress or age-related changes that should not cause unnecessary anxiety.
There are 10 billion neurons in the brain of a healthy person that transmit electrical signals to the inner organs and muscles. Alzheimer’s disease breaks the connection between neurons, which leads to the loss of their functions and the death of brain cells. That’s when the brain literally starts to shrink.
At first, the disease affects the parts of the brain responsible for memory and language as well as the cerebral cortex (including the sulcus and gyrus). Eventually, the major part of the brain gets damaged, and a person slowly loses their ability to function independently. Here is how it all happens.
11. It becomes difficult to make plans, solve quizzes, and work with numbers.
When it comes to planning and working with numbers, a person finds it difficult to concentrate. It is difficult for them to prepare a familiar recipe, to calculate monthly expenses, and to determine how long this or that job will take.
There is no need to worry if you have issues calculating tips.
10. Everyday household chores and work tasks become hard to fulfill, and they require more and more effort.
People with Alzheimer’s disease cannot easily fulfill daily chores and activities. Sometimes a person suddenly gets lost in the city when trying to get home using a familiar route or cannot remember how to play their favorite game.
There is no need to worry if you cannot immediately start using a new gadget easily or need help setting up your TV.
9. The feeling of anxiety increases, and signs of depression appear.
Anxiety is a symptom of depression and a possible early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. An increasing feeling of anxiety is associated with a rise in the level of amyloid beta in the brain. Amyloid plaque often forms in the brains of people with progressive Alzheimer’s disease and can lead to dementia.
There is no need to worry if you have a feeling of being “burned out” or if your routine activities bring you less joy and you get worried sometimes. Going on vacation might be a great remedy.
8. People find it difficult to determine their location and lose control over time.
People with Alzheimer’s disease lose their sense of time: it is difficult to track the day of the week, the time of year, or a time period. They rarely distinguish between half an hour and several hours, but they acutely feel what is happening right now. They often forget how they ended up in one place or another.
There is no need to worry if you wake up during a long-awaited vacation and cannot immediately understand what day of the week it is or where you are.
7. There are changes in the perception of pictures and spatial relations between objects.
Can you say which building is closer?
For some people, vision problems can be an early symptom of Alzheimer’s disease: it might be difficult to read, concentrate on text, evaluate a distance, or determine colors.
There is no need to worry if your eyesight is worsening due to age. If you have any problems with your eyesight, make an appointment with a doctor.
6. Problems with speech and communication begin.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease manifest themselves in human communication: sudden pauses and stops in the middle of a conversation, difficulty trying to resume a story, and repeating the same stories as if a person forgot that they already told it. It is important to pay attention to the vocabulary: if a person has started using incorrect or fictional words instead of the usual ones, that can be a sign too.
There is no need to worry if you know the word but can’t recall it right now. You’ll remember it later or with the help of other people.
5. Things often get lost. A person cannot remember the sequence of their actions.
People suffering from Alzheimer’s disease often put things in unusual places, lose them, or cannot recall the sequence of actions before that. Because of this, they increasingly feel that others steal from them.
There is no need to worry if you lose something but you can remember what you were doing sometime before it and where you saw this thing last. Or if you like to keep things in strange places and get angry if someone doesn’t put them back there.
4. There’s a loss of interest in work, hobbies, and communication.
Because of Alzheimer’s disease, people gradually refuse their usual activities, hobbies, sports, and cultural activities. They skip the games of their favorite teams, avoid meetings with friends, skip training sessions, or give up old hobbies for no reason.
There is no need to worry if you get tired of your work, routine activities, or surroundings from time to time. A short vacation is probably a good idea here as well.
3. There are changes in mood and in the nature of their behavior.
The moods and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s disease can change sometimes for no particular reason. They suddenly become fearful, anxious, embarrassed, depressed, suspicious, or get easily frustrated over trifles.
There is no need to worry if you have already developed habits and order in life and are annoyed when someone or something violates them.
2. Difficulties with valuing judgm
ents and comparisons arise.
For a person with Alzheimer’s disease, it is difficult to assess the consequences of decisions. In other words, it is difficult to calculate the value of a product and its real value, which is why such people easily become victims of scammers.
Difficulties with evaluation also affect a person’s appearance — they stop taking care of themselves, combing their hair, or following simple rules of hygiene.
There is no need to worry if you make mistakes from time to time, admit them sooner or later, and try to avoid them next time. Don’t worry if you suddenly spent a little more than you planned and, for example, bought your dream dress or decided to treat an old friend to dinner.
1. The memory often fails, and hands and feet “forget” usual actions.
An obvious sign of Alzheimer’s disease is a memory imbalance where it becomes more difficult for a person to memorize and absorb new information. At the same time, long-acquired skills gradually get lost such as the ability to ride a bicycle, knitting, or drawing.
There is no need to worry if you do not always remember the names of unfamiliar people, forget about a meeting, or if you have not skated for 20 years and now feel unsure on the rink.
What is the norm for “golden agers”?
- Periodically forgetting something for a short period.
- Mixing up people’s names from time to time.
- Occasional difficulties when trying to find the right words to describe or name something.
- Forgetting today’s date, month, or weekday.
- Delayed reaction.
- Requiring more time than before to learn new skills or perform complex tasks.
Are there any other signs that, in your opinion, should be added to this list? Please share them in the comments!