Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological condition which causes degeneration of the brain cells, leading to cognitive decline and memory loss. This is undoubtedly known as the most common type of dementia.
Signs and Symptoms
The main symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss. Patients typically experience difficulty remembering even the most recent conversations or events, in the early stages of the disease. With time, memory loss worsens, and other symptoms begin to appear.
Memory lapses are normal, and almost everyone experiences this problem on an occasional basis. For instance, it is normal not to remember the name of your acquaintance or forget where you left your keys. However, memory loss resulting from Alzheimer’s disease usually worsens as the disease progresses. This eventually affects the patient’s ability to carry out their normal functions. If you have Alzheimer’s disease, you may;
- Get lost in a familiar environment, such as the streets of your local town
- Misplace things on a routine basis
- Forget appointments
- Forget the names of even the closest friends and family members
- Repeat statements again and again
- Experience difficulty finding words to participate in conversations or express yourself
Making Decisions and Judgements
If you have Alzheimer’s disease, your ability to judge and decide reasonably usually declines. For instance, you may make uncharacteristic decisions or choices in wearing clothes. Instead of wearing heavy garments for cold weather, you may wear light clothes which expose you to the cruelty of the cold. Also, you may experience difficulty responding to everyday matters.
Concentrating and Reasoning
Patients of Alzheimer’s disease usually lose the ability to concentrate or think, especially when it comes to abstract concepts, e.g. numbers. Completing tasks which require cognitive skills also becomes difficult. For instance, you may not be able to multi-task or manage your finances.
Personality and Behavioural Changes
Alzheimer’s disease sufferers experience brain changes, which may result in personality and behavioural changes, including the following:
- Sleeping habit changes
- Mood changes
- Social withdrawal
When to See Your Doctor
There are many conditions which can cause memory loss, and no matter the cause, it is advisable to see your doctor as soon as you realise you have changes in your memory. If you have concerns about the memory changes of a family member or a close friend, talk to them about visiting a doctor. The doctor will perform diagnostic tests and determine the cause of the memory loss before you or your loved one can be put on an appropriate treatment plan.
If Alzheimer’s disease is left to progress to its later stages, it may cause serious complications, including physical challenges, such as difficulty controlling bowels and bladder, balance problems, and difficulty swallowing. These complications may further cause falls, fractures, bedsores, aspiration, or malnutrition.