Ten Alzheimer's warning signs

  • Updated: February 26, 2013 - 1:10 PM

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life: forgetting recently learned information, forgetting important dates or events, asking for the same information over and over; relying on reminder notes or family members to remember things. (What’s typical? Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later.)

2. Challenges in solving problems, such as changes in ability to work with numbers, follow a familiar recipe or keep track of bills. (What’s typical? Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.)

3. Difficulty completing ordinary daily tasks, such as driving to a familiar location or remembering the rules of a favorite game. (What’s typical? Occasionally needing help to use a microwave or record a television show.)

4. Confusion about dates, seasons or location. (What’s typical? Getting momentarily confused about the day of the week.)

5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships, difficulty reading, judging distance, determining color or contrast, or even recognizing the reflection in a mirror. (What’s typical? Vision changes related to cataracts.)

6. New problems with words in speaking or writing, trouble following or joining a conversation, repetition, struggling with common vocabulary. (What’s typical? Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.)

7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps, putting things in unusual places, possibly accusing others of stealing. (What’s typical? Misplacing things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.)

8. Decreased or poor judgment, including making bad decisions about money or paying less attention to grooming or personal hygiene. (What’s typical? Making a bad decision once in a while.)

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities, giving up hobbies or sports, losing interest in following a favorite sports team. (What’s typical? Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.)

10. Changes in mood and personality, such as becoming confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, anxious, or easily upset when outside of their comfort zone. (What’s typical? Becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.)

Source: The Alzheimer’s Association. If you have questions about any of these, the association recommends consulting a physician. Early diagnosis provides the best opportunities for treatment, support and future planning. For more information, go to www.alz.org/10signs or call 800.272.3900.

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