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Alzheimer's disease is a progressively worsening mental condition which slowly causes people to forget basic information and impairs the ability to carry out everyday tasks. Alzheimer's is caused by a buildup of proteins in the brain which make it impossible for nerves to work correctly, causing memory loss and other symptoms. It is the most common cause of dementia and affects millions of people in the United States. Alzheimer's mostly affects people of older age. Find out the ten main symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

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Disruptive Memory Loss

The most common symptom related to Alzheimer's is memory loss. As the condition progresses, forgetting the simplest of things may become more and more frequent. Especially after the condition has developed, newly learned information is likely to be near-instantly forgotten, and the patient may often find him or herself repeating the same question or comment more than once. Moreover, Alzheimer's patients are more likely to rely on memory aids to remember things such as names, places or important dates. Sometimes, a patient will forget something only to remember it later on. As the condition worsens, even the names of the most significant family members or friends will be forgotten.

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Difficulty Planning

People who develop Alzheimer's will often show difficulties with planning. This will often affect their capacity to develop and follow a certain plan. In many cases, this manifests itself in social events such as birthdays or other similar meetings. Moreover, people who have Alzheimer's will usually have difficulties with numbers, making it difficult to visualize calendars and dates. When paying bills, patients may often forget the due date, making it difficult to keep track of different payments. Moreover, doing things they did earlier will be more challenging, like balancing a checkbook. Keeping a written agenda may be helpful.

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Difficulty Completing Tasks

When you have Alzheimer's, it is increasingly difficult to carry out everyday tasks. Things like remembering where you have your items stored at home become difficult. Other aspects of everyday life, such as going to the bank or the supermarket, may also become more difficult. Finding familiar locations, managing a budget or remembering certain rules becomes more difficult, affecting the quality of life of patients. Other examples of difficulties with everyday tasks include forgetting how to use the microwave or needing help to turn on the television. It may be useful to count on the assistance of a close family member or a friend that can be contacted for help.

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Confusion with Time or Place

People with Alzheimer's may have difficulties in remembering the time. This can be seen, for example, in remembering the time of a birthday, a meeting, or any other important event. Moreover, patients will show difficulty understanding events that are not taking place immediately. Often, something may take place only to be forgotten a few minutes later. In some cases, patients may forget where they are or how they got there. When it comes to the days of the week, Alzheimer patients may not know what day it is, and they may suddenly remember it at a certain point in the future.

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Difficulty Understanding Image and Time

Some individuals who have Alzheimer's may also have difficulties with vision. Such difficulties may manifest themselves when reading a book or a newspaper; the letters may appear blurry, or it may be difficult to go from one sentence to another. Another problem related to vision is difficulty is being able to judge the distance between two objects. It may also be complicated to determine colors (for example, not being able to distinguish certain shades of color) or contrast, therefore making it more difficult to drive or identify things by color.

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Problems Speaking

People who have Alzheimer's may find it difficult to follow an everyday conversation. This makes having conversations with family and friends challenging. Alzheimer patients may often find themselves confused or lost, unable to remember what the conversation they're having is about. In some cases, they may initiate a conversation but be unable to develop it. Sometimes, they may also repeat words or phrases that they have already mentioned. Some other problems related to speaking include forgetting vocabulary, finding the right word, or calling certain things by the wrong name. When describing objects or events, Alzheimer patients may not find the right words or expression to show what they feel.

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Decreased Judgment

A common symptom that is associated with Alzheimer's is decreased judgment. Occasionally, people with Alzheimer's may find it difficult to make the right choices, or they might make choices without thinking it through enough. This may lead to outright bad or simply irrational decisions. When dealing with money, Alzheimer patients may be unable to determine the right amount of money to give; they might give a large amount to telemarketers, or make the same payments or gifts more than one time. Decreased judgment is also visible concerning personal hygiene, as Alzheimer patients may forget to shower or they might not give that much importance to cleanliness due to confusion and lack of awareness.

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Changes in Mood

People who have Alzheimer's will often experience changes in their mood and personality. Such changes may be gradual or sudden. Sometimes, they may be happy and become suddenly irritated. Small changes may provoke confused, irritated, fearful or anxious reactions. Moreover, they can be easily upset at home, at work, or when with friends or family. When a patient is outside of his or her comfort zone, they may become angry or anxious. Like many patients with dementia, Alzheimer's patients may be prone to paranoia. On the long-term, Alzheimer patients may experience permanent changes in their personalities. Often close friends and family members may be the only ones to notice these changes.

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Hesitation to Try New Things

People with Alzheimer's disease may be hesitant to try new things. Because small changes in their daily routines can have a large impact on their emotional state, they are more likely to want to stay indoors and stick to a consistent routine. Therefore, new experiences are likely to cause distress and worry; for example, going to a party or a traveling to a new country may be difficult for people who have Alzheimer's. Likewise, unfamiliar sights, colors, or people may provoke feelings of anxiousness and fear in people who have Alzheimer's. For these patients, it is preferable to stick to familiar environments.

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Withdrawal from Social Activities

People with Alzheimer's will often slowly withdraw from regular social activities. They will often participate but no longer initiate activities. Sometimes, they will attend an event or a party but leave immediately. Patients are more likely to avoid family events such as holiday gatherings or reunions. If they participate in events, they are likely to wander off or sit alone and are unlikely to initiate conversation with others. Also, they may listen but not contribute to ongoing conversations. Lastly, it is also likely that they come up with excuses not to see others or to stay home. Sometimes they will only attend social events if familiar people show up.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.