Alzheimer's Disease is a common form of dementia that progressively damages cognitive and intellectual parts of the brain such as memory, thinking, orientation, motor skills, language or speech and even one's ability to carry out daily activities. This disease slowly gobbles up your brain capacity until it renders futile.
A common misperception of people about Alzheimer's is that it is a disease just for old age. It is true that age is the number one risk factor of this disease. It is usually triggered during the middle years and often reaches its peak within the ages 65 and above. Symptoms may appear as early as 40's or 50's. Apart from old age, genetics, lifestyle and environmental aspects may also trigger Alzheimer's over time.
It may seem all too normal for a loved one to become slightly forgetful as they age, but how do you know for sure that it could be Alzheimer's? Early warning signs may help you differentiate those “senior moments” to the real deal. When your father asks you the same questions over and over again or when your mom seems to get lost on your usual shopping spree, it would seem to be normal and not to be considered alarming. Alzheimer's disease at its early stages may not be apparent but you could already watch out for those warning signs.
• Memory Loss - Probably the most evident symptom of Alzheimer's is memory loss. Forgetting short-term memory is more customary with this disease. One with this disease may remember long-term memories from the past but not the recent events. A normal person without Alzheimer's could forget short-term memories but recall them eventually while those with Alzheimer would forget it completely.
• Speech Defects - Patients would often forget or struggle with the most basic words. Their way of speaking becomes distorted and hard to understand.
• Odd Recurrence - One may perceive repeating the same question or stories over and over again regardless of the times it has been answered as just plain pestering, but it may be a sign of a slowly developing Alzheimer's disease.
• Behavior Changes - Alzheimer patients may have chronic mood swings and poor judgements. They may get lost in the places they are already familiar with. Put the wrong things in the wrong places like food in the bathroom or pillows in the kitchen. They may also forget the daily habits like brushing teeth and combing hair therefore resulting to poor hygiene.
There has not yet been a definite cure for Alzheimer's or a formal test to prove you have Alzheimer's. Doctors will rely on your description on what has occurred with your loved one. Improvement in lifestyle, healthy diet and exercise may decrease chances of this dreadful disease. Keeping track of things with diaries, to-do lists and sticky notes may also prevent the wide-spread of memory loss. There are a lot of factors to consider if you suspect your loved one has Alzheimer's. It is always better to consult a doctor immediately for evaluation when in doubt.