Because of how encompassing the effects of Alzheimer’s are, it’s important to spot its warning signs early on. What are the early-onset Alzheimer’s disease symptoms that you should keep a close watch on?
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive condition that wastes away (degenerates) a person’s brain cells.
Although its exact cause has not been fully determined, scientists believe that a patient develops Alzheimer’s due to a combination of reasons, from genetic changes to lifestyle and environmental factors.
Not only does AD reduce the patient’s capacity to remember and care for themselves, but it also causes heartbreak for the family.
8 Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Symptoms
It’s normal to experience memory lapses from time to time. Forgetting where you placed your keys or mixing up details of a conversation is natural, especially when you’re stressed or distracted.
However, if you or someone you love forgets things frequently, it could be an early sign of AD. Cross-check it with the following earliest warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease:
Memory Lapses that Affect Daily Life
One of the earliest warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease is frequently forgetting details, even those you just recently learned. You could forget dates, names of acquaintances, or the doctor’s appointment.
If you find yourself asking the same questions over and over again, or if you rely too much on notepads and your relatives to remind you of important things, then your memory lapses could already be disrupting your life.
Having Trouble with Numbers
Having trouble in planning and solving problems that involve numbers is also one of the early-onset Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.
For instance, do you find it hard to follow recipes that you have known for years? Can you not keep track of your monthly bills? If you find that you’re developing problems in managing your finances, consider talking to your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Difficulty in Accomplishing Familiar and Ordinary Tasks
Sure, you might need help in operating newly installed appliances, but if you suddenly develop difficulty in doing ordinary tasks such as driving to a familiar location and playing your favorite board game, there could be a problem.
Some people even experience trouble in dressing, shopping, or locking their doors.
Disorientation with Date and Time
While it’s normal to wake up and get confused with the current day of the week, it’s unnatural to have problems with the passage of time.
Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease symptoms, like forgetting where you are and how you got there or finding it hard to understand things that do not happen immediately, are common pieces of evidence that you’re having confusion with date and time.
Impaired Understanding of Spatial Relationships
Do you recall a time when you miscalculated the distance between one object to another? That’s one example of having problems in understanding spatial relationships. The other symptoms are:
- Difficulty with balancing
- Tripping over things because you judged the distance wrong
- Dropping objects
- Problems in driving
Problems with Language and Communication
Another one of the earliest warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease is difficulty expressing oneself. Usually, this manifests as problems with language and communication.
One great example is when you frequently describe an object instead of saying its name.
For instance, you could say “that thing you use for writing” instead of just saying “pen”. On top of that, you may also experience:
- Having trouble in joining a discussion
- Stopping midway through speaking
- Repeating what you just said
Having impaired judgment could lead you to make poor decisions.
This early warning sign of AD may result in small accidents, like misplacing objects, to something as big getting scammed.
At times, those with AD may even forget to take care of themselves or their pets.
Finally, if you’re someone who’s experiencing early-onset Alzheimer’s disease symptoms, you may develop uncharacteristic behavior.
These could include social withdrawal and mood changes.
People around may notice that you’re no longer joining activities you used to enjoy and you begin to feel upset about little things.
Who’s At Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease?
Now that you know about the earliest warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, it’s time to learn about who’s at risk.
Generally, you have an increased risk if you:
- Are 65 years old and above. Reports indicate that the likelihood of developing AD doubles every 5 years once you are 65 years old. However, please take note that some of the AD patients are under the age of 65.
- Have a family history of AD.
- Suffered from severe head injuries, although we need more research in this area.
- Have conditions associated with cardiovascular diseases. These conditions include obesity, cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Besides these, there are other factors that researchers are looking into. According to them, these factors may not directly contribute to the development of AD, but they are “important”.
These other factors include unmanaged depression, loneliness, having a sedentary lifestyle, and hearing loss.
Can You Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?
At this point, you may be wondering: Is there any way to prevent AD?
Unfortunately, as of now, there’s no definite way to prevent the development of AD. But you can do some things to reduce your risk.
For instance, you can:
- Take care of yourself so that you can better manage your weight and heart health.
- Stay mentally active by engaging in mind-stimulating activities.
- Stay socially active by spending time with friends and family.
- Perform regular exercises that will help improve blood circulation to the brain.
- Consider the Mediterranean-DASH diet, as some studies reveal that this is associated with less cognitive decline.
And of course, you are encouraged to talk to your doctor immediately if you are experiencing some or all of the early-onset Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.
Learn more about the Brain and Nervous System Health here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.