List of Alzheimers Symptoms for Early Detection

By: Carol Stack

Alzheimer's is, sadly, a common form of dementia afflicting the elderly. This disease is inevitably fatal, and its progress horrifying. Alzheimer's is a degenerative disease which takes away the last years that the afflicted has with their loved ones. The benefits of having family and friends present in ones old age is cruelly stolen from these sufferers, along with the debilitating physical and mental effects of the disease.

There are three distinct stages to the progression of Alzheimer's disease, each with its own symptoms. These stages are early, middle and late. The symptoms of each stage are a bane to both patient and caregivers. It is in the early stage when the disease is generally recognized by the sufferer and when it is diagnosed by the physician.

Loss of memory is a common early symptom of Alzheimer's, especially when it comes to smells. In studies, researchers have found a scratch and sniff test to be an effective screening tool for Alzheimer's disease. However, not every doctor's office has these sorts of tests available.

Detecting Alzheimer's disease early, as with any disease, is crucial to slowing it's progress. This leads to a longer life expectancy for the patient, with increased quality of life. The smell test is a great tool for early diagnosis, a test which one can only hope will become more widespread.

It is not uncommon to have the odd memory lapse as one ages, but these memory lapses are not like those experienced by those suffering from Alzheimer's. The Alzheimer's Association has created a checklist, which families and those who suspect they may suffer from the disease alike may consult when trying to determine if an evaluation by a physician is warranted. Like any disease, a doctor would much rather have a disease turn out not to be present after a visit than to have no contact with a patient who turns out to have the disease.

This checklist contains ten signs of possible Alzheimer's. One is memory loss beyond that normally seen in older people and if this sort of memory loss is seen, it is probably time to consult with your physician.

Early warning signs of Alzheimer's include having a hard time with everyday tasks like cooking or dialing the phone. Finding oneself literally at a loss for words (as in, common words are simply forgotten) is another symptom.

Those afflicted with the disease will commonly become lost and disoriented in surroundings which heretofore had been familiar to them. Lapses in judgment as well as memory are also common, for instance wearing shorts and a t-shirt in mid winter.

A hard time with mental tasks, losing things and mood swings also are common for those undergoing the onset of Alzheimer's. Loss of motivation is also seen quite often, as are personality changes including increased anxiety and suspicion. The person might spend hours in front of the television.

If you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself or in a loved one, the best thing to do is make an appointment with a doctor and find out if it is Alzheimer's or not. There is hope if it is diagnosed early.

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