Back to Main Article:
|Is It Alzheimer's Or Just Memory Loss?
As more people become aware of Alzheimer's (due to public awareness programs), the more people fear they have it. Many who misplace their keys or forget the names of acquaintances start to panic they are displaying the first signs of the disease. Usually the keys are found or the name later remembered when the incident has passed and there is less pressure to remember. Memory problems like these are not progressive, in most cases they are nothing more than age-associated memory impairment. The muscles in your brain, like the muscles in the rest of your body, slow down with age. If you notice your memory loss, then chances are, it is not Alzheimer's. People with Alzheimer's are often unaware of their demise, rather it tends to be noticed first by others who know them well.
Top 10 Signs Of Alzheimer's
1. Memory Loss
Memory loss that causes everyday problems, particularly forgetting information you have just learnt. Those affected by Alzheimer's ask for the same information over and over. This type of memory loss is an early warning sign because the disease first attacks the part of the brain associated with learning.
2. Numbers and Reading
Difficulties with numbers, problems following a recipe or doing a household bill. These tasks take much longer than they used to.
3. Losing Track Of Time
Losing track of time - days and seasons.
4. Speaking Problems
Calling things by their wrong name, for example calling a wrist watch a hand watch.
5. Losing Things
Continually losing and misplacing items. The person can become paranoid and accuse others of stealing them.
6. Poor Judgment
Poor sense of financial judgment - paying much more than needed for items - forgetting the value of money.
7. Can't Follow Things
Withdrawing from favorite hobbies because it's too difficult to do them or keep up with the rules.
8. Mood Changes
Mood changes, easily upset when out of comfort zone.
9. Daily Tasks
Difficulties completing everyday tasks like doing a puzzle, writing a shopping list or driving to a familiar location.
10. Physical Problems
As the disease worsens, slow movements and unsteadiness when walking. Some find it difficult to sleep at night and become restless. After 8 to 10 years patients can not control their bodily functions, becoming incontinent, unable to speak, swallow or recognize their family.
Symptoms Chart: Comparing Memory Loss And Alzheimer's
||Woman with Alzheimer's
||Sometimes forgets part of an experience. For example, remembers a shopping trip but forgets stopping to buy a magazine.
||Frequently forgets entire experiences. For example, won't remember the shopping trip.
|Is not upset when they forget something.
||Acknowledges they forget something and asks for help in remembering the forgotten information.
||Denies memory lapses, and only after repeated denials grudgingly admits it.
|If they forget something, they remember it later.
||Often remembers later.
||Rarely remembers later.
|Speaks normally and fluently.
||Occasionally forgets people's names or words they use infrequently.
||Loses train of thought half way through a conversation, repeats sentences, stutters, can't remember words and uses substitutes ('that thing', 'whatdoyoucallit').
|Normal reading and arithmetic skills.
||Skills remain at normal level.
||Loses ability gradually.
|Can follow written directions, plan events and activities.
||Usually able to follow directions and plan events and activities.
||Becomes unable to follow directions or plan events and activities.
|Can use tools like notes or lists as reminders.
||Usually able to use reminders.
||Unable to use reminders.
|Can care and look after themselves.
||Usually able to care for themselves.
||Becomes unable to care for themselves.
Next: Stages of alzheimer's. How the disease progresses.