How to identify Alzheimer… Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

0
723

Memory loss that disrupts daily life may be a symptom of Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills.

Every individual may experience one or more of these signs in different degrees.

If you suspect a loved one might be displaying symptoms associated with the early stages of Alzheimer’s, pay attention to these warning signs.

If a few of these sound a little too familiar, schedule an appointment with your family’s primary care physician:

Memory loss that disrupts daily life
One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information.

Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; increasingly needing to rely on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later.

 

Challenges in planning or solving problems
Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers.

They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.


What’s a typical age-related change?

Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.

 

Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks.

Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.

 

Confusion with time or place
People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time.

They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.

 

Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s.

They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast, which may cause problems with driving.


What’s a typical age-related change?

Vision changes related to cataracts.

 

 

New problems with words in speaking or writing
People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation.

They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves.

They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a “watch” a “hand-clock”).

What’s a typical age-related change?
Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

 

 

Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places.

They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing.

This may occur more frequently over time.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Misplacing things from time to time and retracing steps to find them.

 

 

Decreased or poor judgment
People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making.

For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers.

They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Making a bad decision once in a while.

 

Withdrawal from work or social activities
A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports.

They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby.

They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.

 

Changes in mood and personality
The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change.

They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious.

They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.

 

By getting in touch with a primary care provider, concerns can begin to be addressed, and you can identify what other types of specialists might be most helpful in caring for your loved one. As a caregiver, there are many resources available for you as well.

Test to detect early or waive the suspicion of signs of Alzheimer

A quick test, released by BMC Geriatrics, will help to detect early or waive the suspicion of signs of Alzheimer’s disease for those, who suspect that their symptoms cannot be explained by the regular forgetfulness or normal aging.

So, this 21-question test distinguishes between normal absent-mindedness and the more sinister memory lapses that may signal the early stages of dementia.

The questions are designed to be answered by a spouse or close friend.

While the Alzheimer’s Questionnaire is considered as almost 90 per cent accurate, measuring mild cognitive impairment – the slight memory lapses that can be a precursor of the disease – it should not be used as a definitive guide to diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI).

Your physician may suggest that the tests be administered at home, and then brought back into the office at the time of the next appointment.

Be advised that up to 15 per cent of people with MCI develop Alzheimer’s within the next year.

But lack of a cure for dementia means that some people may not want to take the test, as denial is still one of the most wide-spread approaches among general population.

The 21 questions are answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

A ‘yes’ is given a score of one or two and a ‘no’ always scores zero, giving a maximum possible score of 27.

Some questions, including one about making the same statements over the course of a day, known as repetitiveness, were found to be particularly valuable.

Therefore, some questions related to repeating statements, having trouble knowing the date or time, having difficulties managing their finances and a decreased sense of direction, have been assigned a double weight in the questionnaire.

AQ Administration

Pick 1 answer to each of the 21 questions (yes or no). Then add up all the points to arrive at a final score.

1. Does your loved one have memory loss?

  • Y = 1
  • N = 0

2. If so, is their memory worse than a few years ago?

  • Y = 1
  • N = 0

3. Do they repeat statements or stories in the same day?

  • Y = 2
  • N = 0

4. Have you had to take over tracking events or appointments, or does the patient forget appointments?

  • Y = 1
  • N = 0

5. Do they misplace items more than once a month?

  • Y = 1
  • N = 0

6. Do they suspect others of hiding, or stealing items when they cannot find them?

  • Y = 1
  • N = 0

7. Does your loved one frequently have trouble knowing the day, date, month, year, and time; or check the date more than once a day?

  • Y = 2
  • N = 0

8. Do they become disoriented in unfamiliar places?

  • Y = 1
  • N = 0

9. Do they become more confused when not at home or when traveling?

  • Y = 1
  • N = 0

10. Excluding physical limitations, do they have trouble handling money, such as tips or calculating change?

  • Y = 1
  • N = 0

11. Do they trouble paying bills or doing finances?

  • Y = 2
  • N = 0

12. Does your loved one have trouble remembering to take medicines or keeping track of medications taken?

  • Y = 1
  • N = 0

13. Do they difficulty driving; or are you concerned about their driving?

  • Y = 1
  • N = 0

14. Are they having trouble using appliances, such as the stove, phone, remote control, microwave?

  • Y = 1
  • N = 0

15. Excluding physical limitations, are they having difficulty completing home repair or housekeeping tasks?

  • Y = 1
  • N = 0

16. Excluding physical limitations, have they given up or cut down on hobbies such as golf, dancing, exercise or crafts?

  • Y = 1
  • N = 0

17. Are they getting lost in familiar surroundings, such as their own neighbourhood?

  • Y = 2
  • N = 0

18. Is their sense of direction failing?

  • Y = 1
  • N = 0

19. Do they have trouble finding words other than names?

  • Y = 1
  • N = 0

20. Do they confuse names of family members or friends?

  • Y = 2
  • N = 0

21. Do they have trouble recognizing familiar people?

  • Y = 2
  • N = 0

Scores

  • 0 to 4: No cause for concern
  • 5 to 14: Memory loss may be an early warning of Alzheimer’s
  • 15 and above: Alzheimer’s may already have developed

Writing in the journal BMC Geriatrics researcher Michael Malek-Ahmadi said:

“As the population ages, the need for a quick method of spotting the disease early will grow.”

Mr Malek-Ahmadi stressed that it is up to the doctor, rather than the patient to interpret the results of the test.

That said, that anyone who scores five or above should seek expert help.

The study authors noted that their findings are particularly important because those with amnestic mild cognitive impairment are at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

These patients, they added, could benefit from early diagnosis and treatment.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Questo sito usa Akismet per ridurre lo spam. Scopri come i tuoi dati vengono elaborati.