Sign of Alzheimer’s
You left your keys in the front door and forgot to put the ice cream back in the freezer. Is it old-age, forgetfulness, or could it be a sign of Alzheimer’s?
For most, there’s no reason to be concerned, unless you put the keys in the freezer and stored the ice cream in the car.
While old age is inevitable (if you live long enough!), Alzheimer’s is not. While most people begin to forget things as they grow older, Alzheimer’s Disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys a person’s memory until they are unable to speak or respond to their environment.
So how do you know if you should be concerned?
The Alzheimer’s Association says these are warning signs that you should see your doctor:
- Memory loss begins to affect your daily life. Everyone forgets what they are doing and why they came into a room occasionally. But if you are forgetting important dates or events or asking questions repeatedly, this could be a warning sign.
- Challenges planning or solving problems. If you have always balanced your checkbook and paid the bills on time. But recently have not been able to, it could be a sign.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks. You’ve played poker with your buddies every week for years, but lately, you can’t remember the rules or what hand beats what.
- Confusion with time or place. You have been looking forward to your grandchild’s school play for weeks, but can’t remember when it is.
- Trouble understanding visual images. You have been driving since you were 16 years old, but lately, you have backed into two cars and scraped the rearview mirror because you couldn’t judge the distance.
- New problems with words in speaking or writing. You struggle to remember a word because you forgot what you were talking about.
- Misplacing things and can’t retrace your steps. You can’t find your cell phone and you have no idea where to start looking.
- Decreased or poor judgment.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities.
- Changes in mood and personality.
If you or a loved one seem to be having any of these issues. It’s probably time to see your doctor.
Alzheimer’s is the 6th-leading cause of death in Americans, with the average person living four to eight years after being diagnosed with some living up to 20 years.
The majority of people with Alzheimer’s are age 65 or older, but there are approximately 200,000 Americans younger than 65 living with the disease, known as early-onset Alzheimer’s.
The cause has been linked to protein build-up around the brain that gradually causes the brain to shrink, usually starting with the area linked to memory.
While there is currently no cure, there are treatments that can lessen the effects of Alzheimer’s and slow the progression of dementia.
By Amanda Rogers for Surepoint Medical Centers
Amanda Rogers is a freelance writer based in Fort Worth, Texas
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