By and large, most Americans are living longer lives, which is great news. But one ironic side effect of living longer is an even greater risk of developing age related diseases. Chief among them: the progressive brain disease known as Alzheimer’s. Cases of Alzheimer’s are expected to increase more than 12% in the U.S. by the year 2025, and the main risk factor for the disease is simply getting older. But today, receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis does not necessarily mean what it did years ago, so it is important to be alert and know which symptoms might indicate the brain disease. Here are some symptoms that accompany the brain disorder.
1 — What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, which includes numerous conditions that involve changes to your memory, judgment and thinking that ultimately interfere with your ability to function. In the United States today, about 6 million individuals are living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Many of those cases are diagnosed in people over the age of 65. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, and there’s currently no cure for it. But it is important to know and watch out for the early signs of Alzheimer’s, so its progress could be slowed, if possible.
2 — Memory Problems
Memory problems are normally one of the very first signs of cognitive impairment linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Forgetting things is typical with aging, but some types of memory trouble could be a red flag for Alzheimer’s disease. This includes forgetting newly learned events or information, forgetting important dates, forgetting where you have placed certain items (like your cell phone or car keys) and being unable to retrace your steps to find them, asking the same questions over and over, increasingly depending on memory aids, like family members and notes.
A person who has dementia might begin having trouble writing, reading or other complicated mental tasks like balancing their checkbook, making calculations, or following directions. Familiar tasks, like paying their bills or cooking often used recipes, might become harder, the CDC says.
4 — Getting Lost
A person with dementia might get lost in places that should be familiar to them, like on a frequently driven road or in their own neighborhood. They might forget how they got to a specific place and how to return home.
5 — Difficulty Communicating
A common symptom of dementia is having trouble communicating well with others. The affected person may have trouble finishing sentences or finding the right words. They may also use substitutes or talk around words they are unable to remember.