For many patients, AD starts with alterations in memory. For others, changes in language, mood, thinking, and visuospatial skills are common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. That being said, memory loss is a key symptom of AD.
Early signs of Alzheimer’s include issues with remembering recent conversations or events. As this illness progresses, a patient’s memory impairments worsen and other symptoms begin to show up.
Eventually, brain changes linked with the illness results in growing trouble with various aspects and exhibits the following symptoms of advanced Alzheimer’s disease:
Most of us experience memory lapses every now and then. However, memory loss associated with AD persists and worsens, thus affecting one’s ability to function.
An individual with AD may exhibit the following:
- Repeat questions or statements multiple times
- Cannot remember appointments, events, or conversations
- Misplace possessions or put them in illogical locations
- Gets lost in familiar places
- Forgets the names of everyday objects, sometimes even family members
- Faces difficulty in finding the right words to express thoughts or take part in conversations
Thinking and Reasoning
This disease hinders one’s thinking and concentration, especially with concepts that involve numbers. Moreover, multitasking becomes difficult for a patient with Alzheimer’s disease. It also causes a decline in his/her ability to make reasonable judgements and decisions in everyday life.
Here are some signs of decline in one’s thinking and reasoning skills due to AD:
- Managing finances is challenging
- Forgetfulness to pay bills on time
- A sudden inability to recognise and comprehend numbers
- Making uncharacteristic choices during social interactions, such as wearing clothes that are not appropriate for the weather
- Difficulty in responding to everyday problems, like unexpected driving conditions or food burning on the stove
Furthermore, as the disease progresses in an individual, they fail to undertake once-routine tasks requiring sequential steps. For instance, playing their favourite game or cooking a meal becomes a struggle. Over the course of time, individuals with advanced AD can forget how to carry out basic activities, such as bathing or dressing.
Changes in Behaviour and Personality
AD-related brain changes also affect moods and behaviours. Therefore, some symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include the following:
- Social withdrawal
- Mood swings
- Aggressiveness and/or irritability
- Severe trust issues
- Alterations or disruption in sleeping habits
- Loss of inhibitions
- Mindless wandering
- Delusions, such as a belief that something is stolen from them
AD can also affect a person’s mood, and patients may become anxious, depressed, paranoid, or irritable. Individuals with AD gradually require constant assistance to complete their daily tasks. They may need help from others to pay their bills, shop, take medications, or remember appointments.
Later in the course of this disease, patients may need assistance with bathing and dressing. A person with AD can continue to live for many years with the disease. Moreover, research suggests that a patient may live up to 20 years or more, although this can vary from one person to another.
Additionally, a patient with Alzheimer’s disease may have some key skills preserved even while their symptoms worsen. Here, preserved skills can include reading books, listening to music, singing, dancing, and telling stories, etc. However, these are preserved for longer periods as they are controlled by areas of the brain affected later during the disease.
Now that we have a fundamental idea of this illness, let’s delve into the causes and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.