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World Alzheimer's Day 2019: Watch Out For These Early Signs Of Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Day 2019: Dr Prashant Kumar Dash talks about the many signs of Alzheimer's disease that are likely to go unnoticed as they are confused with signs of ageing. Some of these symptoms include memory loss, inability to plan and execute and being unaware of time.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Alzheimer's disease can cause changes in personality
  2. It can make a person misplace or lose things more often than usual
  3. Social alienation is an early sign of Alzhemier's disease

World Alzheimer's Day is observed on September 21. This day is meant to raise awareness about Alzheimer's, a neurological disorder in which the brain cells die leading to memory loss and cognitive decline. It is estimated that over 4 million people in India are suffering from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, and this is the third highest number in the world, next to China and the US.** Despite these alarming numbers, the awareness about Alzheimer's continues to be abysmal and only few are diagnosed and treated on time. Alzheimer's symptoms are usually considered to be an inevitable part of ageing. There is a need to create awareness on the early warning signs of Alzheimer's to enable timely diagnosis and treatment in those who are at risk. On World Alzheimer's Day, we talk about the early signs of Alzheimer's you must watch out for.

World Alzheimer's Day: Early signs of Alzheimer's you need to watch out for


1. Memory loss disrupting daily activities

One of the foremost signs of Alzheimer's is the inability to remember basic and daily things. This can include names, numbers, dates, and a person may need to be told the same information many times. They even find basic tasks difficult to carry out. Though this may sound like a common side effect of ageing, the difference is that an Alzheimer's patient does not remember these tiny details completely.

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Alzheimer's disease can lead to memory loss which can disrupt one's day-to-day functioning
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: Top 5 Foods That Increase Alzheimer's Risk

2. Inability to plan and execute

Planning and management of activities can become a challenge for those with Alzheimer's disease. This may include calculations, cooking, or total inability to perform specific steps. The memory loss is again not occasional but recurrent.

3. Being unaware of time

People with Alzheimer's may not be able to comprehend what time it is, what day or week or month, etc. This is also true of locations and they may suddenly find themselves in a place without understanding how they go there.

Also read: Alzheimer's Vs Dementia: What Is The Difference?

4. Inability to comprehend visual cues

While in some people, the early sign could be a vision problem such as not being able to understand colours or the inability to read, in others, it could be other problems such as not being able to drive. People with Alzheimer's have trouble in relating time and space.

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People with Alzheimer's disease experience trouble in relating to time and space
Photo Credit: iStock

5. Problem with words

Another sign of Alzheimer's disease is language difficulties, such as, being unable to follow a conversation or respond. They may be unaware of or not remember what words to use. People with this condition even tend to repeat themselves but have trouble with their vocabulary.

6. Misplacing or losing things

People with Alzheimer's disease may constantly misplace their belongings. This does not only mean forgetting where something is kept but also comprehending the right place for different things. They also lack the ability to retrace steps and figure out where things are kept.

Also read: Doing These 5 Things Can Reduce Your Risk Of Alzheimer's By 60 Percent

7. Lack of judgement

Alzheimer's disease impairs a person's ability to make the right decisions. This is because the condition distorts flow of information and memories. Such people also make impulsive decisions and may start doing something for no apparent reason.

8. Social alienation

It is important to remember that Alzheimer's patients are mostly not aware of what is happening to them. This confusion and vulnerability may drive them to isolate themselves from others or even feel embarrassed. It is important to watch out for this symptom in particular.

9. Personality changes

A disruption in cognitive function also leads to personality changes. People with Alzheimer's tend to be moody, fearful, distrustful, anxious, and even argumentative. This is because though they know something is amiss, they cannot figure out or point to the exact cause.

In conclusion

One of the biggest challenges of caring for someone with Alzheimer's is understanding what they are going through and planning activities accordingly. While in the early stages, they can still do some things independently, over time, this ability keeps diminishing. It is imperative to make those with Alzheimer's feel cared for but without stifling their independence. For this, awareness about the condition and its other aspects is of utmost importance.

**https://www.alz.org/in/dementia-alzheimers-en.asp

(Dr Prashant Kumar Dash, Director-Medical Services at Medlife.com. He has previously been associated with Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Max Super Specialty Hospital, Apollo Hospital and the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same. 

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