How do I know if I really have Alzheimer's Disease? - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather

How do I know if I really have Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative, brain disease. It often starts with memory loss or confusion but leads to irreversible mental impairment.

Here is a list of some of the signs and symptoms:

  • Increasing Forgetfulness:  Alzheimer's is marked by periods of forgetfulness, especially recent events or simple directions.  That forgetfulness worsens.  People with Alzheimer's may repeat things and forget conversations and appoinments.  They routinely misplace things, often putting them in illogical locations.  They frequently forget names, and eventually, they may forget names of family members and everyday objects.
  • Difficulties with Abstract Thinking:  People with Alzheimer's may initially have trouble balancing their checkbook, a this may progress to trouble recognizing or dealing with numbers.
  • Difficulty Finding the Right Word: Those dealing with Alzheimer's may have a hard time finding the right words to express thoughts or follow conversations.  Reading and writing skills are also affected.
  • Disorientation:  People with Alzheimer's Disease often lose their sense of time and dates and may find themselves lost in familiar surroundings.
  • Judgement Loss:  Solving everyday problems, such as what to do if food is on the stove, as well as greater difficulty in doing things that require planning, decision making and judgement.
  • Difficulty performing familiar tasks:  Once-routine tasks that require sequential steps, such as cooking, become a struggle as the disease progresses.  Eventually, people with advanced Alzheimer's may forget how to do even the most basic things.
  • Personality Changes: People with Alzheimer's may exhibit mood swings.  They may express distruct in others, show increased stubborness and withdraw socially.  Early on, this may be a response to the frustration they feel as they notice uncontrollable changes in their memory.  Depression often coexists with Alzheimer's disease.  Restlessness also is a common sign.  As the disease progresses, people with Alzheimer's may become anxious or agressive and behave inappropriately.