As you age, it’s normal to forget things, like where you put the car keys or what you were going to pick up at the grocery store. But when are symptoms like these due to something more? When should you worry that memory loss symptoms could be due to Alzheimer’s? Here is a look at what Alzheimer’s disease is, the most common symptoms, and what to do if you suspect you or a loved one has it.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. One of its main symptoms is memory loss severe enough that it interferes with daily living. One in 10 Americans over the age of 65 have been diagnosed with the disease. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s and it worsens over time. But there are multiple treatments available to slow the worsening of the symptoms and improve the quality of life for individuals who have it.
There is no known cause of the disease but scientist suspect that Alzheimer’s is due to the destruction and death of nerve cells. This cell loss can contribute to problems with memory, communicating and responding to the environment, and personality changes.
The Alzheimer’s Association provides a list of warning signs that can help identify the disease. These signs include:
- Trouble remembering recently learned information
- Trouble planning or problem-solving
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks
- Losing track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time
- Trouble reading or determining colors
- Calling things by the wrong name, trouble following conversations, repeating themselves.
- Losing items without the ability to retrace steps
- Poor judgment
- Withdrawal from normal work and social activities
- Change in personality
More information regarding warning signs can be found here (https://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_10_signs_of_alzheimers.asp#signs).
Diagnosis and treatment
While there is no cure for the disease, research and clinical trials are underway to find alternative treatments. Five medications have been approved by the FDA to slow progression. One of the most difficult aspects of Alzheimer’s disease is identifying warning signs. It’s important to talk with your doctor about any symptoms you may notice, including recent physical and emotional symptoms. Early detection provides more time to plan and gather resources to manage day-to-day challenges. Although Alzheimer’s cannot be cured, it’s possible to slow the progression and improving quality of life.
The Alzheimer’s Association provides numerous resources and support for individuals suffering from the disease and for caregivers. You can find resources in your community by visiting
www.alz.og/findus. You can call Alzheimer’s 24/7 Helpline 800.272.3900 or TTY 866.403.3073
Alzheimer’s Association: alz.org