Because of the estimated alarming increase in the number of cases of Alzheimer’s disease from 5.2 million this 2013 to 13.8 million cases by 2050, becoming aware of the early signs and symptoms is beneficial for early detection of the disease. This gives chances for early medical intervention.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the following are the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Memory loss causing disruption in life: Forgetting newly acquired information is a classic sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Being unable to remember important events, increase dependence on the use of memory aids and asking the same information again and again may also be manifestations of the disease.
- Difficulty in solving problems: Decrease in the ability to plan or deal with numbers are observed in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. They may also have problems in managing their bills.
- Trouble in completing daily tasks: Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease tend to have trouble in performing familiar tasks at home and at work. They may forget the rules of their favorite game or experience difficulty in driving in familiar places.
- Confusion in place and time: People with this disease tend to be lost on tracking the time and season. They may not remember their location and even the way on how they got there.
- Difficulty in understanding optical images and spatial relationships: Bad eyesight causes difficulty in reading and recognizing specific objects. Also, person with Alzheimer’s disease has difficulty in judging the distance.
- Challenges in communication: Individuals with this disease have difficulty in joining and maintaining a conversation. Sometimes their thoughts wander off in the middle of a conversation. They also find trouble in choosing the right words to express their selves.
- Misplacing things: Persons with Alzheimer’s disease place things in unfamiliar places. This may cause them to lose a lot of things. They may even accuse others of theft.
- Poor decision-making skills: People with Alzheimer’s disease may demonstrate poor judgment almost of the time. They cannot differentiate what is bad from a good decision.
- Social isolation: A person with this disease remove his self from his social circle. He rejects practicing his usual hobbies and declines in participating in his usual social activities.
- Behavioral and personal changes: Character and mood changes is usually observed in persons who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. They may experience sudden anger outburst, depression, confusion and anxiety when they are out of their comfort zone
These signs and symptoms may manifest in individuals in varying degrees. If one or more signs and symptoms are observed, it is best to consult the doctor.
When the disease has been diagnosed, several medical interventions can be made; one of which is the SAIDO learning method, a non-drug treatment. This was first practiced in Japan and has a successful record of improving the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease for more than 10 years in the said country. This method is a procedure wherein patients with Alzheimer’s disease engage their selves in solving simple math problems, reading and writing on a daily basis. The procedure may seem not that extraordinary but studies have shown that doing these simple tasks activate areas in the brain affected by the disease. This activation leads to improvement of the cognitive abilities of the patient. This method is offered by the Eliza Jennings, an aging service network, in the United States.