10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

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Changes in memory are a normal part of aging and not all memory loss is caused by dementia or Alzheimer’s disease (AD). It’s a good idea to know the warning signs of AD, because early diagnosis can make a big difference in the progression of the disease. It’s also important to realize that a person with AD or another form of dementia may not exhibit all of the warning signs.

  1. Memory loss: Forgetting names and appointments occasionally is normal. When a person forgets recently learned information and is unable to recall it later, they may have short-term memory loss, which is one of the most common early signs of dementia.
  2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks: Individuals with AD have difficulty remembering the steps involved in preparing a meal, making a telephone call, or playing a game they have often played in the past.
  3. Problems with language: It is normal to struggle to find the right word to describe a complex subject, but people with AD often have trouble describing simple everyday items.
  4. Disorientation: People with AD can get lost in their own neighbourhood, may forget where they are, and may not know how to get back home.
  5. Poor judgment: People with AD may dress inappropriately for the weather, not seek medical attention when it is clearly needed, or have other lapses in judgement.
  6. Problems with abstract thinking: Having trouble balancing your cheque book is normal, but having trouble remembering what numbers are used for is not.
  7. Misplacing things: Occasionally misplacing your keys is normal, but a person with AD may put their keys in the sugar bowl or their iron in the freezer.
  8. Changes in mood or behaviour – Rapid mood swings or changes in behaviour are a symptom of AD.
  9. Changes in personality – People’s personalities can change with age, but a person with dementia can experience a drastic personality change, causing them to become unusually confused, suspicious or withdrawn. They may also act out of character and swear when they have never used bad language in the past.
  10. Loss of initiative – A person with AD may become very passive, sleep more than usual, or spend a greater amount of time sitting in front of the television and require cues and prompting to become involved in their regular activities.
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