Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and affects as many as 5.8 million adults in the US. “One in three Alzheimer’s cases can be prevented if that person does everything right,” says dr. Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell & New York-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. “20 to 30 years is ample time to make brain-healthy choices.” Here are five signs you have Alzheimer’s, according to experts. Read on – and to ensure your health and that of others, don’t miss this one Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Confusion is one of the earliest and most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. “If you have a decline in your memory or thinking that is affecting your ability to perform any of your daily routines, ask your doctor for a screening to evaluate you for Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions,” says dr. Gad Marshall, an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.
Personality changes can be a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. “Often, when people develop Alzheimer’s disease, their personality traits get a bit exaggerated. So if they’re a really nice person and have been quite nice for most of their life, that continues into the disease process.” says neurologist Dr. Ronald Petersen. “Sometimes it happens that people do a 180. That is, the nice little old grandma develops the disease all her life and then later in life starts talking like a sailor with words she had never used all her life. “
Language problems – also known as aphasia – are a common sign of Alzheimer’s disease. “Aphasia is a broad term referring to a problem with language”, says neurologist Dr. Hugo Botha. “For example, patients with aphasia may have difficulty understanding what other people are saying, understanding what they are reading, or having difficulty putting their thoughts into words. It is not a disease in the sense that something like diabetes is a disease. many different diseases that can cause aphasia, for example stroke or head injury, or progressive brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.”
Forgetting to pay bills or making poor financial decisions can be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. “We heard a lot of anecdotes about patients who didn’t even know they had dementia when some of these adverse financial events happened,” says Lauren Hersch Nicholas from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Then the whole family could find out when they’d lost a home or a business, or if a new scammer had suddenly been added to other accounts and their savings were dwindling.”
People with a family history of Alzheimer’s may be at an increased risk of developing the disease. “There is a really hereditary form of the disease called familial Alzheimer’s disease, early Alzheimer’s disease,” says dr. Petersen, who explains that people with the genetic form of Alzheimer’s have a 50-50 chance of getting it. “The vast majority of disease is termed sporadic, but even in sporadic cases there may be a familial predisposition.”
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. read more