Early Warnings Signs Of Alzheimer's Disease
- People in the earliest stages of alzheimer's disease may become confused with time and place.
They may forget the date, month, or season. Sometimes people with early alzheimer's may forget where they
are or how they got there. Some time later, they may remember the date, time,season or where they
are. They can still retrieve important information from memory, but the retrieval process seems to
take longer than normal.
- In the early stage of alzheimer's disease, people may have difficulty
completing routine, familiar tasks. For example, people may forget how to
adjust volume or other settings on a television remote or how to set the time and power
on a microwave oven. People at work may forget how to send or retrieve an email or how to locate
files. People with alzheimer's at work may be unable to solve problems or
read and understand diagrams.
- People with beginning alzheimer's disease may become confused with
handling their finances. They may be unable to count money, record checks,
or pay bills properly. They may be incapable of balancing their checkbook,including adding
- People with alzheimer's typically lose their keys or wallet and forget where they had them
last. When they do eventually find their keys or wallets, they may find them in the most unusual
place...stuck in the door lock, in the refrigerator, or laying on a shelf somewhere. People with alzheimer's disease
tend to have short attention spans and are easily distracted...this makes it easy for them to
put keys in a strange place and then later forget where they were placed.
- One of the most common signs of alzheimer's disease is persistent memory loss for recent events.
People with alzheimer's may ask the same question repeatedly, unable to remember the just answered
question. People with alzheimer's typically forget appointments they made, and may resort to memory aids
to help them remember recent appointments. The person may also forget the names of people they used to
- People with early alzheimer's disease have trouble following written directions. They may be unable to put together
a do it yourself project because they can't understand the directions or they may be unable to follow the directions for
a cooking recipe. Reading blueprints or construction diagrams may become impossible for the person with alzheimer's disease.
- For some people, vision may change. The visual cortex, the part of the
brain that processes visual information, is affected by brain cell loss
in some people with early alzheimer's disease. These people may attribute their vision changes to cataracts.
People with visual changes may have trouble judging distance and perspective. They may be unable to
see color contrasts or discriminate colors well. Red is the color least affected by visual changes. Certainly,
people having visual cell changes should be checked to see if they can still drive safely.
- Another tell tale sign of alzheimer's is losing the sense of smell. The olfactory cortex,
which controls smell, is one of the earliest brain areas affected by brain cell loss in
alzheimer's disease. The person may lose part of their ability to sense odors.
For many, the pleasant aromas of cooking food may not be sensed at all and so the person with early alzheimer's may enjoy eating
and drinking less than they once did. Some of this eating change may be attributed to losing the sense of smell.
- For many people, one early sign of alzheimer's disease is they cannot tell time correctly.
If you ask them to tell you the current time on a clock in the room, they may not be able to
read the time correctly. If you ask such a person to draw a clock and show the minute and hour hands at 12 noon time,
they may not be able to draw the hands in the correct position. Physicians sometimes use a special
clock drawing test to tell alzheimer's disease from other dementias.
- People with early alzheimer's may suffer from poor judgement. They may have difficulty
making even the most simple of decisions.Poor decision-making often gets them in trouble with losing
money.At this point, someone needs to guide them with money-making and other major life-changing
- Some people with early alzheimer's have trouble with conversation. They may lose their train of thought
and pause during a conversation. Or they may use the wrong word to describe their thoughts.
For example, my father called the clock in our kitchen a watch, not the wall clock that it was.
- Some people experience wide mood swings. Some patients with alzheimer's disease become very angry early in the
disease. For example, my father was always a master woodworker. When he diagnosed with alzheimer's disease, he
had trouble reading newspapers and diagrams, and this made him unable to do his woodworking...he became very angry
and one day broke his radial saw with a sledge hammer, he was so angry. Other people may become irritable, moody,
or depressed. They may eat less and personal hygiene gets ignored.
Also, some patients lose interest in hobbies and activities they once enjoyed. Some people with
alzheimer's become withdrawn and apathetic because they cannot maintain a conversation well.