How many times this week have you had problems with your memory? Most of us have occasional problems finding our car keys, remembering someone’s name, forgetting some items we came to the supermarket for. Mostly, with a bit of time and effort we remember the item, the person’s name, or find our keys, but sometimes memory problems keep repeating themselves and become a much more regular. You may worry you have Alzheimer’s disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are:
- Problems with memory, especially newly learnt information. Short-term memory loss is the most common sign of Alzheimer’s.
- Difficulty with learning new tasks.
- Difficulty performing familiar tasks, tasks you previously found easy such as cooking a meal or balancing a checkbook.
- You notice communication difficulties such as finding a word, contributing and keeping up with a conversation, writing down information.
- You lose items and when you find them you cannot recall how they got there.
- People may notice you show signs of poor judgement such as being dressed inappropriately or making rash financial investments.
- You find yourself feeling anxious, irritable, depressed.
- You have got lost in a familiar place, forgotten how you got there and frighteningly, forget how to get home.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disease that affects the brain and signs and symptoms may be more evident and severe while other people’s are milder.
Alzheimer's disease has been described as having seven stages , but the symptoms may also be described within three broad stages- early, middle, and late. As the disease progresses the symptoms become more noticeable. By middle and late stage Alzheimer’s behavior and personality changes resulting from severe memory loss means that more help will be required with carrying out tasks of daily living.
Get an Accurate Diagnosis
If you are worried about your memory or you live with someone who is experiencing some or all of the above symptoms then get an evaluation from a physician, geriatrician or psychologist. The earlier this is done the better for subsequent treatment. They will do some tests and make a diagnosis and exclude other conditions with similar signs and symptoms. Diagnosis will be important so you can make plans on future care and have the best available treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
More Information About Alzheimer's
Here is some more information on what to do following a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease
Information on Alzheimer’s medications
Alzheimer's Association; Stages of Alzheimer's. http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_stages_of_alzheimrs.asp
US National Institutes on Health. National Institute on Aging http://www.nia.nih.gov/Alzheimers/AlzheimersInformation/Symptoms/