Like any other disease, early detection plays a crucial role in getting the right help at the right time for Alzheimer’s disease. And to ensure early detection, there are warning signs that you should never ignore.
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“Although it is unfortunately incurable at the present time, there are strategies you can implement to help slow down the progression of the disease,” says Dr. Gary Small, author of “2 Weeks to a Younger Brain” and the Mind-Body Health Report newletter.
‘In our book “2 Weeks to a Younger Brain” we focus on nutrition, stress management, physical exercise and mental stimulation to keep the brain healthy and potentially delay the symptoms of dementia,” he says.
Some warning signs you should never ignore: If you notice that memory problems are affecting your daily life, or that of a loved one, or perhaps finding ordinary conversation an increasingly difficult struggle you may be experiencing some of the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. More than 5 million Americans have this dreaded disease and according to Harvard Health Report, estimates suggest this number will affect 13.8 million Americans by the year 2050.
Already it’s the sixth leading cause of death in the United States but experts say that recognizing its earliest warning signs can help those at risk receive the best treatment to delay and cope with the symptoms.
If you or your loved one are experiencing one or more of the following, it’s time to talk to your doctor.
Mood or personality changes. Someone who used to be social and outgoing may become introverted and withdrawn. The person may also become stubborn, distrustful, angry or depressed. Harvard experts say that these symptoms often are accompanied by loss of interest in a favorite hobby or activity, a change in appetite, insomnia or sleeping too much, lack of energy and a feeling of hopelessness.
Trouble completing routine daily tasks. Often a person who has so diligently completed routine tasks will find them more challenging. For example, he or she may forget how to operate a computer, drive a car, or use the microwave. Eventually the symptoms may become more severe and the person may forget how to lock or unlock a door, get dressed, or even bathe.
Difficulty expressing thoughts. Typically, a person who is developing Alzheimer’s disease finds it difficult to communicate, express himself or find the right words. The individual may try to describe the object rather than using its proper name. For example, he or she may refer to a telephone as “the ringer.” The ability to read may also be impaired.
Impaired judgment. Often, the person suffering from early stages of the disease will experience challenges solving routine problems or daily planning. For example, he or she may no longer be able to balance a check book or pay the bills.
Disorientation. While most of us experienced the occasional moment where we lose sight of where we are going, people with Alzheimer’s may get lost in the same neighborhood they have lived in for years. They may also lose track of dates and time.
Unusual Behavior. Often, those with the disease will become easily agitated or exhibit strange behavior like hiding things. They may also dress inappropriately, wearing too many or too little clothing, become overly suspicious, engage in unsafe behavior, or use foul language.