Alzheimer’s is a deadly disease that attacks the brain and results in a decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. Alone any one warning sign doesn’t mean Alzheimer’s, but it is crucial to visit a physician if you or a loved one are showing several signs of the illness.

1. Consistently losing items

Occasionally misplacing keys or a cell phone is not a sign of anything serious. However, constantly misplacing everything needed for daily life could be a sign of something more serious. Putting items in unusual places, and the inability to retrace steps should also be concerning.

2. Exceptional loneliness

A group of Harvard researchers found a correlation between isolation and cognitive decline. The study emphasizes that feelings of loneliness don’t necessarily mean a change in social activities.

It is uncertain whether the cognitive decline causes the loneliness of if isolation leads to cognitive decline. Either way, feeling alone is not something to be ignored, especially when paired with other symptoms.  

3. Memory loss that affects daily life

This symptom may start out mild but frustrating. It might begin with forgetting events or maybe having difficulty making decisions. Rather than asking “where did I leave my coffee cup.” An individual with the disease may ask “What is it for and what do I do with a coffee cup?” They may forget the purpose of a pen or even a fork.

As Alzheimer’s progresses, your loved one may confuse the names of family members or forget them entirely. They may forget previous home locations or not understand the passage of time. Familiar tasks may become impossible to complete, and they may struggle solving problems.

4. Sleep Disorders

There is a vicious cycle resulting from sleep difficulty and brain deterioration.Lack of sleep results in plaque and plaque causes sleeping problems.  In Alzheimer’s patients, scientists discovered the peptide (amyloid beta)  that forms plaque in the brain is higher during waking hours.

Scientists are unsure why sleep problems occur with Alzheimer’s patients, but it isn’t uncommon. It could be the inability to separate dreams from reality, or an internal clock that can’t tell the difference between night and day. The lack of sleep can cause another symptom: mood swings and agitation.

5. Mood swings or personality changes

The stress and frustrations related to Alzheimer’s disease can cause extreme mood swings and personality changes such as depression. These changes can be startling and disturbing. It is difficult to understand why they are feeling agitation. This symptom has the largest impact on the decisions for they type of care, and greatly impact the individual’s quality of life.

The best way to manage mood swings as the disease progress is to remove stressors, create quiet spaces, offer a guided choice between two options and do not take offense. Reduce or eliminate any negative interactions including criticism, arguing and raising voices.

6. Difficulty with holding a conversation

Do you find a loved one rambling more often? Do they go on long-winded anecdotes? This could be an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s. One study found that changes in speech and conversational style occur years before severe mental decline.

Individuals with the disease may have trouble following a conversation. They may stop randomly in the middle of a sentence or never finish a story. You may find them repeating themselves often and quickly. They might also have difficulty finding the right words. 

7. Falling frequently

New research found a correlation between smell and Alzheimer’s. The researchers found that Alzheimer’s patients were unable to correctly identify menthol, clove, leather, strawberry, lilac, pineapple, smoke, soap, grape or lemon smells. The symptom can show up approximately 10 years before any memory issues begin.

These symptoms shouldn’t raise too much concern when isolated, but when you or a loved one begins exhibiting several warning signs, then it is time to see a doctor. Facing a terminal diagnosis and unsure about the road ahead? We can help you and you family. Call us at 405-360-2400 to learn more about our services.