Alzheimer’s is rated among the most common form of dementia accounting for nearly 60% to 80% of dementia cases and sadly there is no cure which is available for the disease yet. The disease which causes problems with behavior, thinking and memory is known to develop slowly but worsens as it progresses and interferes with the daily life tasks.
People who are aged 65 and over are at the greatest risk of developing this disease. However, Alzheimer’s should not be considered a normal part of the aging process. 5% of people who are suffering from Alzheimer’s are known to have experienced an early onset of the disease somewhere in their 40s and 50s.
The memory loss in the early stage of the disease is mild. However, as the disease progresses, the symptoms worsen over the years and individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s lose their ability to respond to the environment or to carry out a conversation. Individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s, after their symptoms are noticeable to others, are known to live an average of 8 years. However, the survival of these individuals varies from 4 to 20 years, depending on factors like health condition and age.
Current treatments which are available for Alzheimer’s can’t prevent the progress of the disease. However, they may temporarily slow down the worsening of the symptoms along with improving the quality of life of the Alzheimer’s patients.
Alzheimer’s Warning Signs
There are 10 warning symptoms or signs which may alert you to the possibility of the disease. However, individuals may experience one or more of these warning signs and in different degrees. These are:
- Experiencing memory loss which is interfering with your daily life, especially an inability to remember recently learnt information and the need to ask for the same information repetitively. An increased need to rely on family members or memory aid for information which previously was handled by you.
- Experiencing problems in planning and problem solving skills and having trouble in following familiar routines.
- Experiencing difficulty in completing daily tasks. You may find it difficult to drive to a location which you are otherwise familiar with. You may also find yourself at a loss to remember the rules of your favorite game.
- Experiencing confusion and losing track of the time and date. People who are suffering from Alzheimer’s tend to forget not only where they are but also how they got there.
- Problems with sight which may interfere with driving skills, for example, judging distances, difficulty in reading and determining colors.
- Experiencing speech related difficulties, experiencing difficulty in following or joining conversation. People suffering from Alzheimer’s may stop in the middle of an on-going conversation and find themselves at a loss to remember what the conversation was about and may also repeat themselves during a conversation. They may also find themselves at a loss to come up with the right word and may start calling things by wrong names.
- People suffering from Alzheimer’s may place things in unusual places and be at a loss to remember where they kept it and may accuse others of stealing their things. They may repeat this behavior frequently with the passage of time.
- People with Alzheimer’s may also experience poor decision making and judgment and may devote less attention to their well-being and grooming.
- Individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s may begin to retract from social activities, hobbies and sports owing to the changes which they have started to experience.
- Personalities and moods of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s will undergo change as they start experiencing anxiousness, fearfulness, depression, suspicion and confusion. These people also become predisposed to being easily upset at work, home and social activities.
In case you or your loved one are experiencing any of the abovementioned symptoms, you are advised to talk to your doctor about the possibility of Alzheimer’s.