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Know The Signs And Symptoms Of Alzheimer's

May 02, 2024

As we age, it’s common to forget a name or appointment date a little more often than we did in the past, but what if you find yourself confused about where you are, or forget what you were just talking about with someone? These could be signs of something more serious, like Alzheimer’s disease.

Although this possibility can be frightening, it’s important not to hide your concerns from your doctors or loved ones. While it’s natural to feel scared by what an Alzheimer’s diagnosis could mean, early treatment can make some symptoms less severe. Asking for help can give you, your loved ones, and your doctors time to talk about treatment, develop a care plan, and take steps that can lead to better quality of life over the long term.

10 Early Signs Of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease causes a slow decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning. People often mistake early symptoms of Alzheimer’s as normal signs of aging and delay getting help. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s include:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
    Examples: forgetting important dates, names, and events, needing information repeated multiple times, and relying on memory aids
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
    Examples: having difficulty concentrating or changes in the ability to work with numbers
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home
    Examples: having trouble driving to a familiar location, cooking, or remembering the rules of a game
  4. Confusion with time or place
    Examples: forgetting where you are or how you got there
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
    Examples: having difficulty driving, spilling or dropping things, tripping more frequently
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
    Examples: having trouble naming a familiar object or following a conversation
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
    Examples: putting things in unusual places or being unable to find something again
  8. Decreased or poor judgment
    Examples: paying less attention to hygiene or making poor financial decisions
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
    Examples: inability to follow a game on TV or not wanting to attend regular activities
  10. Changes in mood and personality
    Examples: becoming easily upset or feeling confused, suspicious, or fearful

Not everyone with Alzheimer’s will have all of these symptoms, and some of these signs can be present in other types of dementia. They could also be caused by depression, drug interactions, or vitamin deficiencies. This is why talking with your doctor is so important. Your doctor might suggest several tests to rule out other conditions or refer you to an Alzheimer’s specialist or neurologist.

Treating Alzheimer’s / Alzheimer’s Care

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, certain medications can help with individual symptoms and overall progression. According to the National Institute on Aging, these drugs can slow down memory loss in the early or middle stages of the disease, which is why early diagnosis is vital.

Your doctor might suggest other medications to help with depression, aggression, and anxiety. You also can improve the quality of your life with Alzheimer’s through nonmedical approaches, including regular exercise, and good nutrition. Joining a local or online support group or caregiver support group also can help you better understand Alzheimer’s disease and learn how others live with the condition.

Be sure to check with your health plan to see what types of care and support are covered. If it’s your parent who is impacted, be sure to learn the details about their health plan so you’re prepared to help them with managing Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s Prevention Measures

No treatment has been proven to prevent Alzheimer’s. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests you might reduce your risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease by making healthy lifestyle choices such as increasing physical activity, controlling blood pressure, drinking less alcohol, quitting tobacco, and exercising the brain with cognitive training.

Finding Care

If you need to find a doctor, use the Find Care tool on the Sydney℠ Health app or to search for doctors in your plan’s network.

To prepare for your visit, make a list with any concerns you have, questions you want to ask, medications you’re taking, or recent changes in your health. This helps ensure you have everything you need during your discussion.

Remember, these conversations can be difficult for everyone involved, so be kind to yourself and patient with your loved ones as you go.

The information above is meant to educate, not serve as medical advice. Ask your or your loved one’s doctor for medical advice about any health concerns.
Sydney Health is offered through an arrangement with Carelon Digital Platforms, a separate company offering mobile application services on behalf of your health plan.
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