Difficulty Finding The Right Words
Another early symptom of dementia is struggling to communicate thoughts. A person with dementia may have difficulty explaining something or finding the right words to express themselves. Having a conversation with a person who has dementia can be difficult, and it may take longer than usual to conclude.
What Are The Warning Signs Of Alzheimers Disease
Watch this video;play circle solid iconMemory Loss is Not a Normal Part of Aging
Alzheimers disease is not a normal part of aging. Memory problems are typically one of the first warning signs of Alzheimers disease and related dementias.
In addition to memory problems, someone with symptoms of Alzheimers disease may experience one or more of the following:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life, such as getting lost in a familiar place or repeating questions.
- Trouble handling money and paying bills.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.
- Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them.
- Changes in mood, personality, or behavior.
Even if you or someone you know has several or even most of these signs, it doesnt mean its Alzheimers disease. Know the 10 warning signs .
Problems With Vision And Spatial Awareness
Alzheimers disease can sometimes cause vision problems, making it difficult for people to judge distances between objects. The person may find it hard to distinguish contrast and colors or judge speed or distance.
These vision problems combined can affect the persons ability to drive.
Normal aging also affects eyesight, so it is essential to have regular checkups with an eye doctor.
If You Sleep This Much Your Dementia Risk Is High New Study Says
Research shows getting this amount of sleep could make you 30 percent more likely to get dementia.
While you know not getting enough sleep can make it difficult to function the next day, many of us are still not snoozing for the recommended seven hours a night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ; the agency says one in three adults are getting less than that. In addition to that feeling of grogginess you have after not catching enough zzz’s, there are other long-term effects skimping on sleep can have on you later in life. In fact, a new study of nearly 8,000 adults who were followed for 25 years found proof that getting a certain number of hours of sleep per night can also affect your brain health, making you much more prone to dementia. Read on to find out what the researchers discovered and how much sleep is the real bare minimum.
When It Looks Like Alzheimers But Isnt
Sometimes older people worry that mild forgetfulness means they have Alzheimers disease.
But a certain amount of forgetfulness like losing things from time to time is a normal part of aging. Typical changes in the brain can mean it takes longer to learn new skills or remember information than in the past.
Certain treatable medical conditions can also cause memory loss. These include:
- Head injury, such as a concussion from a fall
- Medication side effects
- Not eating enough healthy foods or having a vitamin deficiency
Emotional problems such as stress, anxiety, or depression can also be mistaken for Alzheimers because they can lead to confusion or forgetfulness. If these feelings persist for more than two weeks, be sure to consult a healthcare professional, recommends the National Institute on Aging.
Brain Changes Detected 20 Years Before Alzheimers Symptoms
Scientists increasingly recognize Alzheimers as a disease process that;begins;years before symptoms of dementia become evident. Now, new research has found changes in the brain and body up to 20 years before Alzheimers symptoms arise.
The research, published in the journal Lancet Neurology, looked at a large extended South American family in Colombia that carried a gene for the early-onset form of Alzheimers, which typically arises before age 60. About 30 percent of the 5,000 family members carry the defective gene. Inheriting the gene, called presenelin 1, guarantees that youll get Alzheimers at a relative young age.
Among the relatives, members who had the gene typically began to develop serious memory problems in their mid-40s, with full-flown Alzheimers by their early 50s. The scientists discovered that many young people in the family, some as young as 18, had changes in their brain, blood and nervous system that presaged the onset of Alzheimers decades later.
The changes are the earliest signs yet detected of Alzheimers disease. Although it was a study of early-onset disease, scientists have noted related changes in those with the far more common late-onset form of Alzheimers.
Using brain scans and tests of the spinal fluid and blood, the researchers examined dozens of young people, ages 18 to 26, in the family. Only some carried the Alzheimers gene, and none had any memory problems or other symptoms.
Conditions With Symptoms Similar To Dementia
Remember that many conditions have symptoms similar to dementia, so it is important not to assume that someone has dementia just because some of the above symptoms are present. Strokes, depression, excessive long-term alcohol consumption, infections, hormonal disorders, nutritional deficiencies and brain tumours can all cause dementia-like symptoms. Many of these conditions can be treated.
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What Is The Burden Of Alzheimers Disease In The United States
- Alzheimers disease is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States.2
- The 6th leading cause of death among US adults.
- The 5th leading cause of death among adults aged 65 years or older.3
In 2020, an estimated 5.8 million Americans aged 65 years or older had Alzheimers disease.1 This number is projected to nearly triple to 14 million people by 2060.1
In 2010, the costs of treating Alzheimers disease were projected to fall between $159 and $215 billion.4 By 2040, these costs are projected to jump to between $379 and more than $500 billion annually.4
Death rates for Alzheimers disease are increasing, unlike heart disease and cancer death rates that are on the decline.5 Dementia, including Alzheimers disease, has been shown to be under-reported in death certificates and therefore the proportion of older people who die from Alzheimers may be considerably higher.6
Craving Sweets Can Be A Sign Of Dementia
According to Andrew E. Budson, MD, associate director for research at the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center and a professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, craving sweets can be an early sign of FTD. He explained to Psychology Today that this particular form of dementia “often exhibits changes in food preferences, such as the desire to eat sweet foods.”
Budson recounted a story he heard in a support group for the caregivers of dementia patients, which included this strange symptom. “He began to eat thingslike a tub of ice cream or a whole box of cookiesin bed while I was trying to sleep,” one woman told the group of her husband, who was later diagnosed with FTD. She also shared that he would eat “a box of cake mix, a tin of frosting,” and other sweet items that would not typically appeal to him. A 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that patients with FTD eat more sugar and carbohydratesand are more likely to experience rapid weight gainthan those without neurodegeneration.
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Stage : Moderate Dementia
When a person has moderate dementia due to Alzheimers disease, they become increasingly confused and forgetful. They may need help with daily tasks and with looking after themselves. This is the longest stage and often lasts around 24 years.
Symptoms of moderate dementia due to Alzheimers disease include:
- losing track of the location and forgetting the way, even in familiar places
- wandering in search of surroundings that feel more familiar
- failing to recall the day of the week or the season
- confusing family members and close friends or mistaking strangers for family
- forgetting personal information, such as their address
- repeating favorite memories or making up stories to fill memory gaps
- needing help deciding what to wear for the weather or season
- needing assistance with bathing and grooming
- occasionally losing control of the bladder or bowel
- becoming unduly suspicious of friends and family
- seeing or hearing things that are not there
- becoming restless or agitated
- having physical outbursts, which may be aggressive
As Alzheimers progresses, a person may start to feel more restless toward evening and have difficulty sleeping. This is sometimes called sundowners syndrome.
During this stage, physical and mental functioning continue to decline.
If a person has severe dementia during the later stages of Alzheimers disease, they might:
How Your Driving Might Reveal Early Signs Of Alzheimer’s
Everyone’s driving changes as they age. But for some people, subtle differences emerge in how they control a vehicle, which scientists say are associated with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
In an experiment to find out whether these driving differences can be detected using Global Positioning System-based location-tracking devices, a group of over-65s in Missouri in the US agreed to have their driving closely monitored for one year.
The DRIVES Study at Washington University in St. Louis, led by Catherine Roe and Ganesh Babulal and funded by the National Institute on Aging, wanted to find out was whether just studying the driving habits of this group alone could reveal the start of the disease – without the need for invasive or expensive medical procedures.
After 365 days accumulating the information, they are confident that it could.
Among the 139 people involved in the study, medical tests had already shown around half of them had very early or “preclinical” Alzheimer’s disease. The other half did not. Analysis of their driving revealed detectable differences between the two groups.
Specifically, those with preclinical Alzheimer’s tended to drive more slowly, make abrupt changes, travel less at night, and logged fewer miles overall, for example. They also visited a smaller variety of destinations when driving, sticking to slightly more confined routes.
But the prediction based on age and driving alone was almost as precise.
Symptoms Of Mild Cognitive Impairment
Some people have a condition called mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. It can be an early sign of Alzheimers. But, not everyone with MCI will develop Alzheimers disease. People with MCI can still take care of themselves and do their normal activities. MCI memory problems may include:
- Losing things often
- Forgetting to go to events or appointments
- Having more trouble coming up with words than other people the same age
Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease from MedlinePlus.
What Is The Outlook For People With Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers disease gets worse over time and is ultimately fatal. Persons with Alzheimers disease live, on average, four to eight years after diagnosis. Some patients can live as long as 20 years after diagnosis. The course of the disease varies from person to person.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/18/2019.
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What Happens To The Brain In Alzheimer’s Disease
The healthy human brain contains tens of billions of neuronsspecialized cells that process and transmit information via electrical and chemical signals. They send messages between different parts of the brain, and from the brain to the muscles and organs of the body. Alzheimers disease disrupts this communication among neurons, resulting in loss of function and cell death.
What Are The Symptoms Of Early
For most people with early-onset Alzheimer disease, the symptoms closely mirror those of other forms of Alzheimer disease.
Withdrawal from work and social situations
Changes in mood and personality
Severe mood swings and behavior changes
Deepening confusion about time, place, and life events
Suspicions about friends, family, or caregivers
Trouble;speaking, swallowing, or walking
Severe memory loss
Sleeping Six Hours A Night Or Less Puts You At Risk For Dementia
The new study, published on April 20 in the scientific journal Nature Communications, found that sleeping six hours a night or less a night was linked to an increased risk of dementia in people between 50 and 60 years old.
Researchers from the French health research institute Inserm analyzed data from a long-term study by University College London, which followed 7,959 British individuals between 1985 and 2016. They compared the health of adults who didn’t get enough sleep to people who slept the recommended seven hours.
Overall, 521 participants developed dementia over the course of the study and the patients were an average of 77 years old when diagnosed. The results show that participants who slept seven hours a night had the fewest cases of dementia. There was a 30 percent increase in dementia risk in those who consistently clocked in a maximum of six hours a night in their 50s and 60s.
“Many of us have experienced a bad night’s sleep and probably know that it can have an impact on our memory and thinking in the short term, but an intriguing question is whether long-term sleep patterns can affect our risk of dementia,” Sara Imarisio, PhD, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research U.K., said in a statement in response to the new study. “We know that the diseases that cause dementia start up to two decades before symptoms like memory loss start to show, so midlife is a crucial time for research into risk factors.”
Financial Planning After An Early
When you or a loved ones world is rocked from an early-onset Alzheimers diagnosis, its normal to feel sad, angry and paralyzed with fear. Things like financial planning typically get shoved to the back burner because theyre simply too painful to think about.
As challenging as it is, the reality is that an Alzheimers diagnosis comes with a high price tag. Plus, its better to begin planning while your loved one with a diagnosis is in an early stage and more likely to be able to participate in the decision-making process.
So, where to start? One obvious place to begin is with a familys source of income. People with early-onset Alzheimers are often forced to modify their employment availability and as a result, they may even lose their job. How can families cope with income loss? Covering living expenses as well as the price of medical treatment can cause a strain on the family budget. Following a heart-to-heart conversation with loved ones, many families choose to seek advice from a financial advisor.
Youll want to organize, review important documents, and create a realistic budget. Explore options for government programs along with insurance coverage, and consider if any low-cost or free community services are available. In addition to a financial advisor, you may want to seek advice from an attorney who specializes in elder law. An attorney can help you deal with matters like estate planning and key legal documents.
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You May Also Notice Pronounced Shifts In Your Personality
In addition to craving sweets, those with frontotemporal dementia will typically have other “prominent symptoms,” including notable changes in personality and behavior. “Friends and family members of individuals with frontotemporal dementia frequently describe them as behaving like ‘different people,'” Budson explains.
“They often show socially inappropriate behaviors, have poor manners, make impulsive decisions, and engage in careless actions,” as well as displaying a pronounced lack of either sympathy or empathy, says Budson.
What Are The Signs Of Alzheimer’s Disease
Scientists continue to unravel the complex brain changes involved in the onset and progression of Alzheimers disease. It seems likely that damage to the brain starts a decade or more before memory and other cognitive problems appear. During this preclinical stage of Alzheimers disease, people seem to be symptom-free, but toxic changes are taking place in the brain.
Damage occurring in the brain of someone with Alzheimers disease begins to show itself in very early clinical signs and symptoms. For most people with Alzheimersthose who have the late-onset varietysymptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Signs of early-onset Alzheimers begin between a persons 30s and mid-60s.
The first symptoms of Alzheimers vary from person to person. Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of cognitive impairment related to Alzheimers disease. Decline in non-memory aspects of cognition, such as word-finding, vision/spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment, may also signal the very early stages of Alzheimers disease. And some people may be diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. As the disease progresses, people experience greater memory loss and other cognitive difficulties.
Alzheimers disease progresses in several stages: preclinical, mild , moderate, and severe .
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It May Also Affect Your Ability To Complete Everyday Tasks
The woman from the support group Budson described shared that while there were many signs that something was wrong with her husband, she didn’t think to consult a doctor until it began affecting his ability to work. “Loss of interest, drive, and motivation to do anything is very common,” Budson says. This sense of “apathy” or “inertia,” as Budson describes it, may impact one’s ability to hold a job or fulfill their everyday responsibilities.
However, the neurologist warns that while the individual’s habits may change drastically, they are almost always unaware of the changes themselves. “It is family or friends who bring the abnormal behavior to medical attention,” Budson says.
How Is Alzheimers Disease Diagnosed
Talk to a doctor if you or a loved one is finding it increasingly difficult to perform day-to-day tasks, or if you or a loved one is experiencing increased memory loss. They may refer you to a doctor who specializes in AD.
Theyll conduct a medical exam and a neurological exam to aid in the diagnosis. They may also choose to complete an imaging test of your brain. They can only make a diagnosis after the medical evaluation is completed.
Theres no cure for AD at this time. The symptoms of AD can sometimes be treated with medications meant to help improve memory loss or decrease sleeping difficulties.
Research is still being done on possible alternative treatments.
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