25 signs which indicate you have Alzheimer’s disease: Out of the blue, I started to fail to recall the speeches that I had given for years and years. Getting lost in papers which I was grading and losing my aptitude to read became a common problem.
I was losing words and repeating myself. The job I was doing turned out to be almost intolerable.
All those things created a prodigious deal of anxiety in my life” says Tom Doyle of Shamburg who had been a professor of education at Concordia University Irvine and National University Los Angeles for 25 years. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is one of the worst diseases an individual can have because of the disturbing effects it causes in your daily life.
It is a progressive yet irreversible brain disorder that impairs intellectual abilities and memory, causing plaques in the brain due to the buildup of toxic, misfolded beta-amyloid proteins.
The vilest part is it deteriorates with time. Alzheimer’s disease is presently ranked as the sixth leading cause of demise in the United States.
Alzheimer’s disease acts as a slow poison to the brain since it worsens the patient’s mental state over time. Below are the most common symptoms of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease:
The basic and most primary symptom of a patient diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is the loss of memory over time. Individuals have a tough time recalling certain events or newly learned information, even names or identities of folks or places.
Due to memory loss, the patient turns lucid and irritated, which is the worst feeling for a soul. With an increase in the age of the patient, the situation worsens and leaves the patient blank.
- Anxiety and mood swings
Due to gradual failure to recall things, the patient starts having certain mood changes such as anxiety, confusion, and agitations.
The root cause of these mood swings is the result due to being afraid, confused, fatigue, and a certain overwhelming feeling of not belonging in this world.
Imagine you are having trouble recognizing your parents who brought you to this world and never let you get off their eyes for a second. I guess that explains the anxiety, agitation, anger, and tears of an Alzheimer’s patient.
Alzheimer’s disease also knows as AD is a slow poison. When a person experiences behavioral changes due to loss in memory, they start having problems related to decision making.
The patients face difficulties in deciding between right and wrong, beneficial or harmful, appropriate and inappropriate and often fail to assess certain situations. This happens due to the chaos of mind resulting from a state of confusion and lucidity.
It is seen that the initial failure in judgment occurs regarding money. Many start spending money on unnecessary stuff they are not likely to spend or forgetting to pay the money that is owed.
Difficulty in decision making affects the patient’s financial condition. AD patients have a hard time managing money and simple day to day tasks such as addition or subtraction. Unpaid bills, excess purchases, and strange new merchandise are common among the patients.
Money missing from an individual’s bank accounts is caused due to constant memory loss and failure to recall the event on which the money was spent.
Difficulty with accustomed tasks
If you are a cook and suffering from Alzheimer’s, forgetting to cook is no surprise.
It is common among individuals to have problems remembering tasks done by them for decades and in the blink of an eye, all those expertise and experience fades leaving you unable to cook your signature dish or reach a location you have visited for a long time.
Even playing certain games and how they work is also forgotten by the patients or may take a much longer time than usual to perform day to day chores.
Trouble planning or problem-solving
As the slow poison slowly progresses, your loved ones start having problems following a routine, or it may be guidelines, recipe, use of lists and checkbooks and financial transactions. The patient loses confidence, and the spark one needs to excel in life.
Forgetfulness is pretty much normal with the natural aging process. While forgetting about things is normal among all, but patients of AD will forget to track and recall where they kept certain things
Often they’ll also become suspicious and accuse someone else of hiding or stealing their belongings.
Mix-up with time or place
The real issue with AD is perception of time where five minutes can seem like five hours for someone with AD, so a husband may think his wife has been gone for hours or even weeks, even if it’s just been a few minutes, or he might tell his grandchild that he hasn’t seen him in five years, even though he just saw them yesterday.
All of these confusion causes tragedy, and the patient mentally breaks down.
The vocabulary of a person with dementia can be especially troublesome. Patients suffer from calling things by the wrong name, inability to follow or join a conversation and repeating the same stories.
This inability triggers the patients to rely on gestures, and gradually they lose interest in speaking and start speaking less in general.
As mentioned earlier, the patients stay lost in thoughts, and almost 60% of the patient wander aimlessly and get puzzled about their whereabouts, which results in getting lost.
This wandering is triggered by restlessness, fear, confusion, and stress resulting in unconscious walk-offs.
Family members of the patients have encountered the absence of the patient in the home at mid or late night to fulfill a physical need, such as finding a toilet or food or going to a former job.
Constantly repeating words, statements, questions, or activities is a major symptom of dementia and AD. The patient loses the ability to communicate coherently.
It is triggered by anxiety, boredom, or fear of the environment or to achieve comfort, security, or familiarity.
Struggling with visual or spatial relationships
Alzheimer’s is believed to be a destructive disease that causes the patient to have vision problems such as cataracts.
People suffering from a D face difficulties reading judging writing and determining color or contrast and the situation worsens over time.
Often patients might look at the mirror in the room and think someone else is in the room by seeing their own reflection. The vision perception problem can be very disturbing
The patients of AD get lost within themselves as they find no purpose in things. As a result, they end up repeating certain tasks such as packing and unpacking or repeating demands and questions.
Life starts to seem aimless, and they stay lost among themselves.
AD can be a lonely and isolating disease due to which patients isolating themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects, or sports they previously treasured, perhaps because they forget how to perform their favorite pastimes, like knitting or listening to music.
Because of the behavioral changes, patients might feel awkward and embarrassed to face people and occasions.
Loss of initiative
Depression is what affects the mental health of the patients the most. Regrettably, identifying depression can be difficult, and cognitive impairment makes it difficult for the person to articulate his or her feelings.
Failure to identify family
As the disease slowly progresses, your loved one may not always recognize you or other family members and friends, which can be really tragic and upsetting.
The patients forget what they just learned or whom they just met, then friends, and family last.
Loss of motor skills
In the late stage of the disease, known as severe dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease, the mental functioning skills of the patient deteriorates, and thus they fail to connect the body with the mind. The movement and physical activities of the patients are hampered.
The fine motor skills, interfering with one’s ability to button or unbutton clothes or use utensils, like forks and knives are affected along with weakness or trembling hands, or sensory symptoms, like numbness or loss of sensation, may also be encountered.
- Difficulty dressing
Due to the absence of a proper memory, patients may find dressing themselves up properly a huge difficulty. Due to the confused and hazy state of mind, people suffering from AD might repeat the same outfit for days.
They also fail to choose the right clothing depending on occasions such as a patient might attend a formal party wearing casual outfits like T-shirts and shorts.
Buttoning and unbuttoning clothes can become more problematic due to a decline in motor skills mentioned above.
- Disdain for grooming and hygiene
As the slow poison grasps the brain, individuals with AD often show zero interest in bathing, brushing one’s teeth properly or use the toilet.
Failure to remember the purpose and importance of staying clean, taking a shower, brushing one’s teeth and even washing hands after a meal is pretty much common.
Similarly, forgetting how to comb their hair, use a toothbrush or comb is also a common trait of the patients.
The health condition of dementia affected patients deteriorates as they skip meals or don’t remember to eat or drink. Due to this abnormality in the routine, patients may experience a decrease in appetite.
The patients often forget they’ve already eaten, which results in eating lunch or dinner multiple times a day. It’s not infrequent for a person with AD to develop new favorite foods and suddenly dislike foods he or she previously loved.
The patient may develop difficulties in understanding the state of the food or beverage such as hot or cold and may not be able to remember how to use spoons or other utensils.
During the late stages of this devastating disease, the patient may lose control of their impulses and act out in ways they probably would never have.
One suffering from AD may body shame someone unconsciously due to impaired judgment. The patient may forget his or her prior relationships and commitments, which might lead to sexual activity or flirtatious behavior with a new partner. Some patients shoplift subconsciously.
Dangerous and unstable symptoms such as hallucinating, seeing or hearing unknown voices are seen in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. A person may talk to a former friend or hear voices and commands.
The hazy state of the brain due to memory loss causes the brain of the patient to perceive things in a new, unusual way or may misinterpret what he/she actually sees or hear. This is dangerous to the people around the patients.
As the AD worsens over time, it is not surprising for one to become physically or verbally aggressive. Abusing, cursing, arguing, name-calling, shouting, and threatening are common. Some patients might get physical, hitting and pushing caregivers.
The reason behind such behavior may be physical discomfort, inability to communicate correctly, or frustration.
Restlessness, anxiety, agitation, disorientation, and confusion worsens the mental health of the patient, often resulting in difficulty sleeping and wandering.
Patients often suffer from the inability to separate dreams from reality, and a decreased need for sleep that occurs with age.
AD sufferers have a tendency to become completely dependent and rely on a certain individual to help them with every task of their daily life.
Such behavior can be explained by the confusion and chaos inside one’s mind due to the inability to process information. The absence of that person will make the patient follow around the house and even into the bathroom.
Although this disease itself has no cure, an early diagnosis means early treatment. This increases a person’s chances of maintaining independence for as long as possible and having a voice in planning for their future.