admin - June 26, 2013
With more than 5 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and the majority being over age 65, it’s important to know as much as we can about the condition – especially its earliest warning signs. This form of dementia has no known cure, making preventive action all the more vital.
Recently, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America compiled a list of the top 10 things you should know about Alzheimer’s disease. There are multiple factors that you might not be aware of that could have an impact on early diagnosis and treatment. Let’s explore five of the top ten items below:
#1: Don’t mistake aging as an excuse.
Sure, we all experience some level of memory loss, cognitive decline and behavioral changes as we get older, but don’t mistake Alzheimer’s disease as a “normal” part of the aging process. It’s not. Even though older age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, the condition is not something we should excuse as simply a part of getting older.
#2: Keep an eye out for patterns.
Forgetting something, like a person’s name or paying a bill, is normal when it happens every so often. However, consistently forgetting a person’s name or forgetting to pay a bill for months at a time may be a red flag of a more serious cognitive condition.
#3: Symptoms don’t guarantee an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Many Alzheimer’s symptoms can mimic the symptoms of other health problems. For example, memory problems may indicate vitamin deficiencies, depression, or thyroid conditions. It’s important to consult a physician about any symptoms you may have so a proper diagnosis can be made.
#4: Every person is different.
While general warning signs of Alzheimer’s may be consistent, every person may experience their own unique symptoms at different times in the progression of the disease. In addition, other people might experience symptoms but try to hide them so they’re less noticeable. Every Alzheimer’s case is unique.
#5: Symptoms can be both cognitive and behavioral.
When most of us think of Alzheimer’s disease, we think of memory loss, confusion, misplacing items often, trouble doing everyday tasks, and other thinking difficulties. Alzheimer’s symptoms may also consist of behavioral changes, like unexplained mood swings, anxiety, anger, depression, and sleeplessness.
There are more factors you should know about Alzheimer’s disease that you can read about here. Remember that with a condition like Alzheimer’s, whose exact cause remains a mystery and a cure has not yet been discovered, the best thing you can do is proactively understand and be on the lookout for early warning signs. Catching any disease early, including Alzheimer’s disease, provides the best chances for more successful treatment.
Learn more about other diseases, like heart disease, that can be caught early through a proactive approach. See how the power of prevention can benefit you.