10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

Wondering if you should be concerned about Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia? If you observe any of these 10 classic warning signs (as noted by the Alzheimer’s Association), you should contact your physician. Why? Two reasons:

  1. Those symptoms could be a sign of a condition that resembles dementia but could be potentially reversed if identified and treated.
  2. There are many benefits to early detection of dementia.

1.Memory Changes

Image comparing Alzheimer's brain with a normal brain

The first and most common warning sign is memory loss that interferes with daily life. This includes repeated requests for the same information, increased reliance on written notes or family members, and more difficulty with remembering recent events or information.

What it’s not: Occasionally forgetting where you placed the car keys.

While memory loss is often what comes to mind when we think of Alzheimer’s disease, there are nine other warning signs that are just as important.

2.Withdrawal From Usual Activities

Woman looking at the window

Apathy, lack of interest, and withdrawal from people and activities around you can be indicative of early dementia.

Examples include no longer following a favorite sports team, being apathetic about spending time with treasured grandchildren, giving up knitting or woodworking, and skipping the monthly get-togethers with good friends.

What it’s not: Needing a longer break between activities or occasionally feeling overloaded with obligations.

3.Disorientation to Time or Place

Man standing in a maze

If you’ve ever awakened from a deep sleep and couldn’t immediately determine the day, time or location, you’ve experienced disorientation. Magnify that many times over and you’ve got one of the warning signs of Alzheimer’s. Disorientation includes an inability to determine what season or year it is, your location, or why you’re in that location. As Alzheimer’s progresses, it’s not uncommon for the person to believe she’s many years younger than she is due to an unawareness of time passing.

What it’s not: Wondering what day it is and figuring it out by checking the calendar.

4.Visual-Spatial Difficulties

Woman helping a man up the stairs

Visual-spatial changes are another warning sign of dementia. This includes difficulty with depth perception and distances, recognition of familiar faces or objects and interpretation of the images that we see. Activities including navigating stairs, climbing into a bathtub, finding your way home, or reading a book may become more difficult.

What it’s not: Vision changes due to macular degeneration or cataracts.

5.Decrease in Written or Verbal

Communication Ability

Man at desk with several crumpled up papers

Do you often find yourself trying to come up with the right word and have to settle for saying “the thing you cook food on” because the word “stove” just won’t come to you? Maybe you’ve always been a good writer and recently, you’re noticing that you can’t get your thoughts down on paper very well. A change in communication ability serves as a warning sign of dementia.

What it’s not: Occasional inability to find the right word.

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