9 Early Symptoms of Alzheimer's

9 Early Symptoms of Alzheimer's

To forget where they put the keys, to grumble about bad weather, to chat too much is sometimes abnormal.

Alzheimer's disease — the most common type of senile dementia: it accounts for 60% to 80% of all age-related neurological disorders.

In full force, the disease manifests itself, usually after 60 years old. However, the first calls suggesting a bad outcome can be noticed much earlier...

The death of brain cells (namely, this is the essence of Alzheimer's disease) can be slowed down if you recognize the oncoming illness in time and seek help from a doctor. 

Be sure to consult a specialist if you observe at least a couple of the following symptoms in yourself or your relative.

What are the early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease?

1. Regular memory lapses that complicate everyday life

Incremental forgetfulness — this is the first and most important sign that Alzheimer's disease may be sneaking up on you. You cannot remember what you spoke about yesterday with a colleague. Forget important dates and upcoming events. More and more often, seeing a seemingly familiar face, we are tormented by the question: «I think I know him, what's his name?» More and more in need of diaries, planners, to-do lists and reminder stickers.

Forgetfulness, which has reached the threshold when it begins to seriously complicate your life, in itself, even without other symptoms, is a serious reason to consult a therapist as soon as possible.

2. Difficulties with planning and decision making

Perhaps with memory, you have everything okay and you remember exactly what you did yesterday and intended to do the next day. But how to do it? The planning process of the day, until recently so simple and natural, turns into a tedious load that you want to avoid.

On a friend’s offer to meet at lunch, you hesitantly answer: «I don't know if I will be free». Less and less agree to spend a weekend with friends (you need to plan the event so that it is convenient for everyone!). Increasingly, you find that you forget to pay utility bills on time, make annoying calculation errors and don’t know how much money you have in your wallet. Yes, what's bills and friendship plans — even making a pie according to a long-known recipe becomes difficult.

This confusion of consciousness speaks of problems with the so-called executive system of the brain, which is one of the first to be damaged during dementia.

3. Difficulties with the performance of familiar tasks

You played this game for many years, and now suddenly you can’t remember the key rule. Or catch yourself on the fact that you are lost, although you know the area well. Or look at the document opened in the editor and do not understand what to click on to change the font, although you have been working with this program for several months.

Inability to cope with tasks that were previously easy, — this is another wake-up call.

4. Confusion over time and space

Sometimes you think so deeply that at some point you start, look around and think: «Where I am? How did I get here?» Or, for example, you cannot remember exactly when you met with an old friend — two days ago or last week? BUT maybe it was in the summer?

It becomes difficult to evaluate time and distance. There are problems with descending and ascending the stairs, taking a bath (after all, you need to climb into it, calculating the depth and necessary movements), finding the road to the right place.

5. Problems with speaking and writing

You forget the words and increasingly replace them with turns like «Well that thing that… Well, do you understand»? Vocabulary generally becomes more scarce. But there is verbosity: disturbances in the brain do not allow to formulate thoughts clearly and briefly, one has to engage in lengthy discussions. BUT in the process, you often find yourself forgetting what you actually wanted to say.

6. The tendency to constantly shift objects

Put a wallet or glasses somewhere, and then look for where they are stored, in general, a normal, familiar phenomenon to many. But with approaching dementia, it becomes more pronounced. Things «are lost» more and more, and you begin to regularly scold someone who «picked up and did not return».

7. Loss of judgment

Alzheimer's disease makes people overly naive and unfit for life. Give money to a scammer who promised 300% per annum? Easily. Go out to –ten °C to the street in a dressing gown, because the sun is shining through the window and it seemed like warm? No problem.

People whose brains are attacked by Alzheimer's often look sloppy and disheveled because they cannot adequately assess the impression they make on others. But they can throw away the just bought microwave because on TV they said that it was producing «dead food».

8. The decrease in interest in communication and familiar activities

Constant apathy, loss of interest in a hobby that you have been fond of for many years, the desire to avoid communication — even with friends! — also signs of impending dementia.

9. Dramatic changes in personality and behavior

Dementia dramatically changes people. Yesterday's merry fellow and optimist begin to grumble and complain about an unfair life. A lover of gulling with friends turns into a hermit. Loving father — a person who accuses children of waiting for him to die and leave them an apartment. A calm and polite person starts scandals literally from scratch. Such obvious changes in character and behavior clearly indicate that not everything is OK with the brain...

What to do if you suspect Alzheimer's?

First thing — contact the therapist, describing to him all the symptoms found in yourself. Your doctor will ask you additional questions and may suggest a series of tests. — urine, blood (including thyroid hormones). Some signs of upcoming dementia are similar to symptoms of other diseases. — endocrine disorders, depression, anemia, — and here it’s important not to confuse.

If the therapist nevertheless confirms your suspicions, you will receive a referral to a neurologist. A narrow-field specialist will evaluate your condition and offer the most suitable preventive measures for a particular case. Unfortunately, it is impossible to completely prevent Alzheimer's disease. But you can suspend its development.

By the way, the prevention of this type of dementia can be done independently. 

It includes:

  • A healthy diet high in vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts, olive oil. Ideal Mediterranean diet.
  • Daily brain exercises: read more, solve crosswords and puzzles, learn something new, communicate.
  • Regular physical activity with a focus on aerobic exercise: walking, running, swimming, cycling, aerobics and so on.
  • Quitting smoking: a passion for cigarettes increases the risk of developing Alzheimer's.