It may be hard to know the difference between age-related changes and the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease. It starts in different ways for different people – those tiny early warning signs. They can be subtle, confusing, frustrating, alarming. Though it can be tempting to dismiss these uncertain moments, early detection enables us to seek not only treatment, but also support. The sooner we know, the sooner we can begin to manage what is happening. To help identify early, the Alzheimer’s Association, the leading organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research has created a list of warning signs for Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals may experience one or more of these symptoms in different degrees.
1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems.
3. Difficulty in completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.
4. Confusion with time or place.
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing.
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
8. Decreased or poor judgment.
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.
10. Changes in mood and personality.
If you notice any of these signs, please see a doctor. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It is the only cause of death in the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Every 66 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s disease. Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women.
Many caregivers for those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia experience stress, which can put their own health at risk. Contact your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter to learn about resources to help.
For more information, visit alz.org/10signs.