Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease characterized by impairment of mental functions, including memory, reasoning, language, and perception. This condition is found to be very common among people above 85-years-old and the chances of developing Alzheimer’s increases after 70-years-old. Contrary to common belief, this disease is not a normal part of the aging process. This disease is one of the most common causes of dementia, a disorder that may interfere with the day-to-day activities of the person. As the disease progresses, normal mental functions like memory and reasoning reduces considerably. There is no complete cure for this disease, but appropriate treatment will help in improving the quality of life of the person.
Many of the early signs of Alzheimer’s may resemble that of the normal aging, like mild memory loss and lack of concentration. These symptoms gradually become more intense and start affecting the life of the person. In most cases, the symptoms of early stage Alzheimer’s are often ignored.
The early stage symptoms include:
- Short-term loss of memory
- Inability or difficulty in performing routine tasks, like brushing and washing
- Disorientation – losing sense of the location, day, season, or the present circumstances
- Difficulty in managing one’s own things – they find it hard to manage normal activities, like paying bills and making calls
- Language difficulties – people with Alzheimer’s often fail to recall words used daily and to express their thoughts clearly
- Mood swings – sudden mood changes form sad to happy and getting irritated, and angry with small things is very common with this disease
- Lack of motivation – things and activities that were enjoyable earlier becomes less interesting and people start spending less time with family and friends
As the disease progresses more obvious symptoms appear:
- Hallucinations and delusions
- Anger and fear
- Inability to read and write
- Inability to deal with numbers
- Inability to do routine tasks, like getting dressed
- Changes in sleeping habits
In the later stages, people with Alzheimer’s disease need support to take care of themselves.
The later stage symptoms include:
- Difficulty or inability to recognize people
- Inability to walk
- Difficulty in swallowing
If there are any of the above symptoms, which may also be due to a variety of other diseases, it should be brought to the attention of the doctors. This will help to treat many of the other conditions that lead to these symptoms.