Ten Warning Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

Ten Warning Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

1. Memory Loss That Affects Job Skills
It's normal to occasionally forget assignments, colleagues' names, or a business associate's telephone number and remember them later. Those with a dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease, may forget things more often and not remember them later.

2. Difficulty Performing Familiar Tasks
Busy people can be so distracted from time to time that they may leave the carrots on the stove and only remember to serve them at the end of the meal. People with Alzheimer's disease could prepare a meal and not only forget to serve it but also forget they made it.

3. Problems with Language
Everyone has trouble finding the right word sometimes, but a person with Alzheimer's disease may forget simple words or substitute inappropriate words, making his or her sentence incomprehensible.

4. Disorientation of Time and Place
It's normal to forget the day of the week or your destination for a moment. But people with Alzheimer's disease can become lost on their own street, not knowing where they are, how they got there or how to get back home.

5. Poor or Impaired Judgment
People can become so immersed in an activity that they temporarily forget the child they're watching. People with Alzheimer's disease could forget entirely the child under their care. They also may dress inappropriately, wearing several shirts or blouses.

6. Problems with Abstract Thinking
Balancing a checkbook may be disconcerting when the task is more complicated than usual. Someone with Alzheimer's disease could forget completely what the numbers are and what needs to be done with them.

7. Misplacing Things
Anyone can temporarily misplace a wallet or keys. A person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in inappropriate places: an iron in the freezer, or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.

8. Changes in Mood or Behavior
Everyone becomes sad or moody occasionally. Someone with Alzheimer's disease can exhibit rapid mood swings (from calm to tears to anger) for no apparent reason.

9. Changes in Personality
People's personalities ordinarily change somewhat with age. But a person with Alzheimer's disease can show drastic personality changes, becoming extremely confused, suspicious, or fearful.

10. Loss of Initiative
It's normal to tire of housework, business activities, or social obligations, but most people regain their initiative. The person with Alzheimer's disease may become very passive and require cues and prompting to become involved.

[These warning signs were taken from publications of the National Alzheimer's Association.]

The informaton on this page is for reference and educational purposes. There is no substitute for seeing your doctor.

Source: CNADC brain.northwestern.edu
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Dementia Overview

Dementia is a decline of reasoning,memory, and other mental abilities (the cognitive functions). This decline eventually impairs the ability to carry out everyday activities such as driving; household chores; and even personal care such as bathing, dressing, and feeding (often called activities of daily living, or ADLs).

* Dementia is most common in elderly people; it used to be called senility and was considered a normal part of aging.

* We now know that dementia is not a normal part of aging but is caused by a number of underlying medical conditions that can occur in both elderly and younger persons.

* In some cases, dementia can be reversed with proper medical treatment. In others, it is permanent and usually gets worse over time.

About 4-5 million people in the United States have some degree of dementia, and that number will increase over the next few decades with the aging of the population.

* Dementia affects about 1% of people aged 60-64 years and as many as 30-50% of people older than 85 years.

* It is the leading reason for placing elderly people in institutions such as nursing homes or hiring a nursing assistant.

Dementia is a very serious condition that results in significant financial and human costs.

* Many people with dementia eventually become totally dependent on others for their care.

* Although people with dementia typically remain fully conscious, the loss of short- and long-term memory are universal.

* People with dementia also experience declines in any or all areas of intellectual functioning, for example, use of language and numbers; awareness of what is going on around him or her; judgment; and the ability to reason, solve problems, and think abstractly.

* These losses not only impair a person's ability to function independently, but also have a negative impact on quality of life and relationships.
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