Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive degenerative disease that affects brain (degeneration of brain cell and death of brain cells lead to memory loss) and impact memory (causes dementia or memory loss) and other mental functions. Initially the Alzheimer’s disease may appear as mild problem of problem in remembering things which one should not usually forget. As the disease progress the person may not even recognize his/her family members and there is huge personality change along with personal difficulty in day to day activities.ID-100238219

Dementia is a group of brain disorder where there is loss of memory and Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and the medications can only help in maximizing functions and maintain independence for little longer. Hence, it is important to seek all available supportive service and use them.

What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?

Initially the symptoms start as mild forgetfulness and confusion. Recent memories are usually affected first. However, as the time progresses, memory loss gradually increases and at the end stage even forget the family members. The symptoms of memory loss may vary from patient to patient. The symptoms of memory loss may not be apparent to the sufferer, but becomes obvious to the family members, co-workers and friends.

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are due to degeneration of nerves and affect,

Memory:

We all have occasional memory loss and may forget where we kept keys, documents, or forget names of a friend/ acquaintances. We tend to get back memory again and remember those things again. But, memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease is progressive and becomes worse as time progresses and affect functioning of that person. An Alzheimer’s disease patient may have following problems due to memory loss,

  • Repeat same question again and again without realizing that the question has already been asked. The same with statements, which may be repeated again and again.
  • The person may forget appointments, events and conversations and may not be able to recall them later.
  • Conversation may become difficult due to inability to get the right word for identifying an object or place. Unable to express thoughts in a proper manner.
  • Items are routinely misplaced and items are placed in illogical places, e.g. may place mobile phone in bathroom, etc.
  • Get lost in familiar places and later even at home
  • As the disease progress, the patient with Alzheimer’s disease forgets names of family members and even not recognize them as well as inability to recognize everyday use items.

Inability to make judgments and decisions:

This makes the individual with Alzheimer’s disease unable to respond to everyday problems.

Reasoning and thinking:

Thinking and reasoning becomes difficult. And this create problem in everyday functioning. Inability to perform routine activities that require sequential actions such as cooking, playing a game etc. Later even dressing may become difficult.

Personality changes due to Alzheimer’s disease:

Due to nerve degeneration in brain various personality changes may be experienced, such as

  • Depression
  • Social withdrawal
  • Rapid mood swing
  • Loss of social inhibitions
  • Irritability
  • Aggressiveness
  • Distrust in other and later may develop delusion that something is lost when nothing actually is lost
  • Lack of interest in anything
  • The individual may wander and may not be able to return home.

Various skills are not lost until very late stage in Alzheimer’s disease. These include, reading ability, singing, enjoying music, telling stories, hobbies and crafts etc. This is due to the fact that the recent memories are lost first and the last to be lost are the skills learned at early age.

 

Image courtesy of [Witthaya Phonsawat] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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