10 Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s and Dementia
What if your mind was tearing itself apart and you didn’t even know?
Alzheimer’s is a disease in your brain that affects how you reason, think, and memorize details. And dementia actually refers to multiple symptoms that collectively affect how you think, speak, and memorize things.
If you are suffering from either Alzheimer’s or dementia, there are steps you can take the minimize the effects and slow the spread of symptoms. But it’s important to notice the warning signs as soon as possible.
What are the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia? Keep reading to discover the answer.
`1. Memory loss
Perhaps the biggest warning sign of Alzheimer’s is memory loss. While it may eventually affect your long-term memories, the earliest warning signs of Alzheimer’s include your short-term memory deteriorating.
Take note if you have trouble remembering information that you recently learned or if you need to write things down more often than you once did. Similarly, you should take it seriously if you frequently struggle with remembering dates and times or if you need to keep asking someone the same questions.
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2. Struggling with words
Dementia is more likely than Alzheimer’s to affect the way you speak. And with dementia, one of the earliest warning signs is that you begin struggling to find the right words.
This is due to the fact that dementia makes it difficult to organize your thoughts and get the right words together in the right order. And this may make it very difficult for other people to hold a conversation with you.
3. Difficulty completing everyday tasks
Another telltale sign of Alzheimer’s involves your daily tasks. If these tasks are giving you trouble, then you may be experiencing Alzheimer’s.
What kinds of tasks are we talking about? You may have difficulty getting your grocery list together or even remembering where the grocery store is. If you have done something countless times and it now gives you trouble, it’s worth asking your doctor about Alzheimer’s.
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4. Mood changes
Have more and more people been telling you that your mood has changed? This can actually be a symptom of dementia.
Dementia can change your mood in drastic ways, including giving you depression. But some changes may not seem very negative: for example, a shy and introverted person may become very extroverted and outgoing. That may seem like a positive change to some people, but it’s important to take any major changes in mood as potential signs of dementia.
5. Problem-solving issues
When you get right down to it, our everyday lives are largely spent solving various problems. Sometimes, the problem is figuring out the best way to get rid of those pesky weeds in the backyard. Other problems may include accurately following a family recipe or simply organizing and paying all of your monthly bills.
If you struggle with solving these simple problems, it may be a sign of Alzheimer’s. Once more, if you are struggling with things that previously gave you new trouble, you should treat this as a warning sign.
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6. Feeling apathetic
Earlier, we touched on the fact that a sudden shift in mood may be a major warning sign of dementia. A related dementia symptom that may occur early on is that you suddenly feel very apathetic.
Others may note that you seem apathetic, but it can be difficult to detect this within yourself. But you should consider this a possible dementia symptom if you suddenly lose interest in your favorite hobbies or activities. Similarly, you may no longer want to leave the house to go spend time doing fun things with your friends and family members.
7. Getting confused about time and place
Alzheimer’s can affect your memory in a number of ways. Sometimes, this is more obvious than others. And one of the more obvious signs is that you are frequently confused about time and place.
For example, you may struggle with remembering things that have happened before or remembering when things are supposed to happen in the future. And you may suddenly forget where you are and how you got there. If this is happening to you, we recommend consulting your doctor right away!
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8. Stories get harder to follow
To help pass the time, most of us enjoy ongoing storylines. This could be serial storylines in books, comics, television, and even movies. There is nothing quite like the relaxing feeling of settling in and following your favorite stories.
That’s assuming you can follow them, though. A big warning sign of dementia is that you struggle to follow along with the stories. This may be due to forgetting what happened before and it may also be due to suddenly not understanding some of the words and phrases different characters are using.
9. Difficulty driving and reading
One of the more unexpected warning signs of Alzheimer’s is that it affects how you process both spatial relationships and visual images in your life. While this can manifest in many ways, it is easiest to notice when you have trouble driving or reading.
Trouble reading is pretty self-explanatory: you may not be able to read stories, newspapers, or magazines because the words are difficult to read and process. As for driving, spatial issues mean that you have difficulty understanding distances and general difficulty driving from one place to another.
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10. Getting repetitive
The final warning sign of dementia is perhaps the most noticeable. And that sign is this: you have suddenly become very repetitive.
You or others may notice that you are repeating certain tasks. For example, you may go to shave or wash clothes before realizing you have done this before. Or your friends may point out that you keep asking questions after they have given you an answer.
If you find yourself getting repetitive like this, please consult with your doctor immediately!