Alzheimer’s: Chances are, you know someone affected with the disease, or has a family member affected with it. Currently, there are an estimated 4.5 million Americans afflicted with this Alzheimer’s. It is becoming an increasingly more common condition, especially among our senior citizens.
What is Alzheimer’s? Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disorder that gradually erases a person’s memory, their ability to reason and make sound judgments, and their ability to communicate. A person living with Alzheimer’s often finds day-to-day tasks extremely challenging. Things such as tying ones shoe can become frustrating to an Alzheimer’s patient. Alzheimer’s can cause a calm and peaceful individual to become anxious, belligerent, and on-edge. Eventually Alzheimer’s will erase memories of family members, friends, and loved ones from the individual’s mind.
Alzheimer’s has no cure. There isn’t one known reason as to what causes Alzheimer’s. It remains a mystery to medical science. While there is no known cure, there are more available drugs being marketed to help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, perhaps buying a family member or loved one a bit of extra time to savor everything around them.
Is it Alzheimer’s or is it just normal memory loss? How do you know for sure? Is it old age, or is it something more? How can someone tell, and what should you or your family do if you suspect Alzheimer’s in a loved one? There are ten main warning signs developed by the Alzheimer’s Association that people should be aware of. Ten signs which may show that your loved one doesn’t just have ordinary memory loss.
Signs of Alzheimer’s:
1. Memory loss: Forgetting names is normal; forgetting recently learned information is not.
2. Problems with language: Having trouble finding the right word to say is normal; forgetting common or simple words is not
3. Difficulty performing day-to-day tasks: Forgetting why you went into your bedroom is normal; forgetting how to prepare a meal is not.
4. Disorientation: Forgetting the day of the week is normal, not knowing your way around your neighborhood, or getting lost in your neighborhood, is not.
5. Poor thinking skills/decreased judgment: Making a rash decision is normal; wearing a sleeveless shirt in ten-degree weather is not.
6. Misplacing things: Forgetting where your keys are, is normal; putting your telephone in the shower is not.
7. Mood changes/behavior issues: Occasional moodiness is normal; drastic and severe mood swings are not.
8. Personality changes: Your ability to do things changing as you age is normal; being confused or suspicious of others is not.
9. Problems thinking in abstract: Having a hard time balancing your checkbook can be normal; not remembering how to add or subtract, is not.
10. Loses initiative for things: Sometimes not wanting to attend a social function is normal; sitting in front of the TV, or excessive sleeping, is not.
If you are concerned that a loved one may have more than just normal memory problems, please consult your physician today. Modern medicine is making long strides in the fight against Alzheimer’s. It is best to see a physician quickly if someone is exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s. The quicker a diagnosis is made means that the patient can receive necessary treatment sooner rather than later, perhaps slowing down the progression of the disease.
A descent into Alzheimer’s can often be a frightening thing not only for the person experiencing it, but also for the family of the patient. There are many organizations that offer support for Alzheimer’s patients and for their families. Please ask your physician for more information.
Alzheimer’s is more than just typical memory loss. It is a brain disease that can have devastating results on an individual. The more each person and his or her family know about signs, treatment, and care, the better.