Alzheimer’s disease is a common type of dementia that gradually gets worse over time. The main thing affected by Alzheimer’s is a person’s memory and cognitive abilities. There are 3 stages of Alzheimer’s disease: mild, moderate, and severe. Typically, a person will live 8-10 years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, but every case is different, and people can live much longer.
Here are some recognizing signs of Alzheimer’s in patients:
• Memory loss – Memory loss is the most common sign of Alzheimer’s disease, especially forgetting things that a person recently learned. If a person asks for the same information over and over, it is a sign of Alzheimer’s.
• Problem solving and concentration – If a person struggles with solving problems in his or her daily life or has problems concentrating with no prior history of such problems, this may be a sign of Alzheimer’s.If things take longer to do than they typically did before, this may be another sign.
• Hard time completing daily tasks – Frequently, a person with Alzheimer’s has a hard time completing daily tasks such as remembering a recipe that they have made many times before or balancing a checkbook.
• Vision problems – Vision problems can be one sign of Alzheimer’s disease in some people. Having a hard time reading or judging distances can be a sign.
• Time confusion – A person with Alzheimer’s disease may be confused about the time or the passage of time. Such a person may have a hard time determining when an event happened, whether it was immediately right before or a longer time in the past.
• Place confusion – One of the common signs of Alzheimer’s is if a person is confused where they are and how they got there.
• Lack of good judgment – One sign of Alzheimer’s in patients is lack of good judgment and a lack of good decision-making. Paying less attention to details such as personal grooming and eating right is a sign to look for.
• Speech problems – This is not having trouble speaking or not vocalizing. An Alzheimer’s patient may not be able to follow a conversation or may repeat something he or she has already said. Patients may also not be able to find the right word for something or may call things by the wrong name.
• Misplacing things – One sign of Alzheimer’s disease is misplacing things and being unable to find them or putting things in strange places where they do not typically belong.
• Mood changes – People with Alzheimer’s can experience mood changes from mild to severe. They can become more easily irritated because of what they are experiencing. Thus, they become frustrated and confused.
• Social withdrawal – Withdrawing from such things as hobbies, work, activities, and friends and family can be a sign of Alzheimer’s in patients.
It’s important to seek memory care right away when you see any warning signs.
Just how well do you know your family health history? I suspect many of us know bits and pieces but not the full picture of our genetic history. I strongly suggest you research and record your family health history during this holiday season. Since we celebrate with our families during the holiday season, it’s an excellent time to get your family health history. Grab the video camera, your smartphone, or an old school tape recorder and pose the following questions- “Does anyone in the family have a history of Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, heart disease, stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, thyroid disease, or any other chronic disease?” Did you know that with any of these diseases you have an increased risk for developing memory problems and other cognitive deficits?
By doing a little research into your genes, you have the ability to map out a healthier lifestyle. It’s never too late to make positive lifestyle changes whether you’re a senior, a baby boomer, in your 40’s or 30’s, or in college. I challenge you to do some research and discover the age of your oldest living blood relative. By the way, mine was 115 or 116. I find that truly amazing! Try to brainstorm as a family what this relative did to achieve such healthy aging and longevity. Don’t be surprised to discover that these relatives probably have some things in common. They were active and kept moving, stayed engaged and connected with people, and consumed a healthy diet. No junk food or fast food on a regular basis. Strive for that kind of lifestyle to achieve optimal health. Don’t forget to include regular exercise as a part of a healthy lifestyle! Why not take advantage of every possibility to lessen your chances of developing memory loss or suffering a cognitive decline? Remember, memory loss does not have to be a part of the normal aging process! Be in command of your health and your life!
So, take charge of your health! Engage your brain with challenging and fun brain fitness activities. Let’s build your cognitive reserve through some mentally stimulating activities. Learn a new game, learn a new language, enroll in a class, participate in a social group, and EXERCISE! Try some BrainMasters’ Brain Boosters! One of the secrets to longevity is to achieve a healthy balance between a healthy mind, body, and spirit!
Let us know the age of your oldest relative, too! Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza and Happy New Year! Now is the time for YOU commit to your health!