5 Signs to Look For if You Think a Loved One Has Alzheimer’s
It is estimated that 50 million Americans are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia-related illness. The probability of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s increases drastically with age, as it is estimated that 10% of individuals aged 65 years have dementia-related illnesses or Alzheimer’s.
The scientists relate the etiology of Alzheimer’s to neuronal degeneration. This is because of the formation of abnormal tau proteins that aggregate in the nervous tissue preventing normal neuronal transmission. Initially, the effect of tau proteins goes unnoticed; however, when the concentration of tau proteins increases to abnormally, high-level signs and symptoms may manifest.
Formation of abnormal tau proteins is thought to be genetically linked, which explains the high propensity of Alzheimer’s in families whose one of their family members has Alzheimer’s. Juvenile Alzheimer’s rarely occurs, but this does not mean it cannot happen. How do you recognize the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s in a loved one? Here are some signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Memory Loss is the main symptom of Alzheimer’s. In the initial stages, Alzheimer’s affects short-term memory, where a loved one can not recall previous conversations. A loved one forgets about important dates of events that they previously held dear like birthdays or anniversaries. Additionally, they forget recent information they just learned or names of people who are around them.
Such individuals find difficulty in sticking to their previous schedule or follow an old recipe that they had learned it by heart. Memory loss may go as far as forgetting their cars or getting off at odd bus stops. Often loved ones who are showing early signs of Alzheimer’s get lost in towns or cities that they have been calling home for many years. Sometimes a loved one may complain of having lost or misplaced a thing only to find it in a weird place, like a watch or car keys in the refrigerator. They experience disorientation in time and space, which aids in the early detection of Alzheimer’s for doctors. Over time, memory loss becomes so severe that they are unable to recognize family members.
It can be very frustrating for patients with Alzheimer’s to continually be in a state of confusion. If you noticed a certain change in the behavior pattern of a loved one either they are becoming too aggressive and defensive, or they tend to drift and are depressed, these are telltale signs of Alzheimer’s. Additionally, loved ones may engage in irrational behaviors like suddenly spending money in purchasing unnecessary things online or giving a large lump sum of money to strangers.
Sometimes loved ones may segregate themselves from society as they find holding conversations too tiring. Changes in sleeping patterns where a loved one spends more time sleeping than being active is an indicator of Alzheimer’s. Poor judgment in making decisions, spontaneity in spending habits, increased aggression, or depressions are signs that your loved one may be having Alzheimer’s disease.
In the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, loved ones may have had difficulty articulating sentences or regressing their cognitive abilities like reading, writing, or doing simple mathematical tasks. Additionally, they may have a shorter attention span, difficulty in organizing their thoughts or have difficulty understanding visual images.
In late-stage Alzheimer’s, a loved one may lose their ability to control their bladder or bowel movements. They fail to recognize immediate family members and friends. Additionally, they may lose their ability to communicate.
Dementia, Hallucinations, and paranoia.
A loved one may experience both visual and auditory hallucinations. An example is they may say that they are communicating with a deceased family member or feeling that someone is following them. Paranoia can cause impulsive behaviors like undressing at inappropriate times or wandering late at night.
Most patients with Alzheimer’s tend to forget about their hygiene, especially if they live alone. They do not eat meals regularly, which leads to significant weight loss, malnutrition or appears to be unkempt. A loved one who was known to be neat and tidy may start living in dirty residence. A common indicator of self negligence is a loved one frequently forgetting to take their medication, especially if they are living with chronic illnesses like diabetes.
In conclusion, Alzheimer’s disease takes a toll on the mental, physical, and emotional health of a loved one. Once you notice the signs of Alzheimer’s in a loved to seek medical help to manage the symptoms. Sometimes families may need to help from a certified nurse to help their loved one in managing Alzheimer’s.