7 Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer's
For millions of Americans, it's an all-too-familiar scenario: Suddenly, a loved one will start asking the same question repeatedly, telling the same story continuously, or behaving inappropriately. His or her close friends, spouses, or children notice it but dismiss it simply as "getting old." And who can blame them? We all forget things when we get older.
But then, friends, spouses, and children become increasingly concerned as the memory lapses get worse: Their loved one leaves a stove burner on or can't remember how to get home. The truth is, concern is very important at this stage: Memory loss is one of the early warning signs of Alzheimer's disease—a debilitating condition that affects more than 5.4 million older Americans.
Identifying the Symptom
It's important to pay close attention if your loved one is exhibiting unusual memory loss or any of the following early warning signs:
- Asking the same question repeatedly.
- Telling the same story several times.
- Forgetting basic life skills, such as how to cook or other activities accomplished with ease before.
- Forgetting how to pay bills or do other basic financial tasks.
- Getting lost in familiar surroundings, such as in their own neighborhoods.
- Stopping bathing and wearing the same clothes continuously. When asked about it, they insist they've bathed and are wearing clean clothes.
- Turning to others for simple decisions that they otherwise would tackle themselves.
As the disease progresses, patients may stumble over simple words, misplace objects in bizarre places, use poor judgment about simple decisions, exhibit rapid mood swings, become suspicious and fearful, have delusions or hallucinations, or simply lose initiative.
Experts warn, however, that having one or a few of these symptoms doesn't necessarily mean that your loved one has Alzheimer's or another form of dementia. But, according to the Alzheimer's Association, any of these signs warrants a visit to a neurologist or psychiatrist—medical professionals trained in diagnosing and treating such problems.
Sign Up for Free Newsletters
Ask Your Doctor the RIGHT Questions!
the most from your doctor visit.
Emailed right to you!
The Ask Your Doctor email series
may contain sponsored content.
18+, US residents only please.
Explore Original Articles About...
Get the MOST from QualityHealth
- Top Searches
- 1. Arthritis Management: Nature Heals
- 2. 5 Digestive To-Dos
- 3. Men: Should You Shave It or Leave It?
- 4. Today's Top Fitness Trends
- 5. Sugar and Osteoarthritis : The Link
- 6. Can't Afford Your Hospital Bills?
- 7. Stay Energized All Day Long
- 8. Phobias: Who Has Them and Why?
- 9. What If Your EpiPen Fails?
- 10. 5 Costly Medical Billing Mistakes
- 1. Hotter Temperatures Linked To Kidney Stones
- 2. Summer Bug Bites: What to Look For
- 3. Skin Health Advice with Dr. Kenneth Beer
- 4. Summer Safety Tips That Every Parent Needs To Know
- 5. Sugar and Your Immunity System
- 6. Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?
- 7. 5 Super Foods for Spring
- 8. The Hazards of Reusable Bags
- 9. How to Avoid Ingrown Hairs
- 10. Health Tip: Constantly Change Shoes
- 1. 4 Common Treatments for Epilepsy
- 2. What Does a Urogynecologist Do?
- 3. GERD Without Heartburn? It's Possible
- 4. Graston Technique: Can It Work on You?
- 5. Music Therapy Can Help Autism
- 6. 8 Ways to Fight MS-Related Fatigue
- 7. Can You Still Bleed After Menopause?
- 8. Be Your Own Health Care Advocate
- 9. Why Is Syphillis on the Rise?
- 10. Ideal Weight vs. Happy Weight
The material on the QualityHealth Web site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a physician or other qualified health provider. See additional information.