If you or any of your loved ones have memory lapses, it could be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Alzheimer's is a type of irreversible brain illness which causes dementia. People with Alzheimer's disease have memory loss, loss of the ability to solve problems, personality changes and behavioural problems which can become severe enough as the disease progresses to interfere with normal activities and relationships. If you are concerned about your memory lapses or increased forgetfulness consult a doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve prognosis.
Also read: 5 Ways to Slow Down the Progression of Alzheimer's Disease
Some common signs and symptoms which can indicate or help detect Alzheimer’s disease at an early stage are:
- Frequent loss of memory in particular recent conversations, appointments or events (the person may not even remember them later)
- Difficulty in concentrating, shortened attention span
- Often misplacing personal belongings and keeping things in illogical locations
- Difficulty in doing everyday activities that need sequential steps - like operating the washing machine, making or grinding or cooking a meal
- Change in behaviour and mood -feeling depressed and apathetic, irritability, aggression, and may have mood swings
- Difficulty in expressing and understanding language (even simple language or common terms in daily conversation) or repeating a statement or question again and again
Also read: Alarming Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease You Must Know
These are some signs and symptoms of early Alzheimer’s disease. In case you suspect yourself or any of your loved one having these symptoms suggesting Alzheimer’s disease, consult a doctor. Your doctor will take a detailed history and do a physical exam. During an examination, your doctor will try to find out if a hearing or vision problem is causing the symptoms. A functional status examination and a mental health assessment may also be done.
These tests check a person’s ability to perform simple and sequential tasks and orientation of time (day, month etc.) and space (a place where you are). There are no tests that can help screen Alzheimer's disease or detect AD at an early stage. Alzheimer's disease cannot be cured but treatment can help alleviate many of the symptoms and may delay progression of the disease.
Certain medications can possibly help to slow down progression of the disease, relieve symptoms and also improve the quality of life of those affected Alzheimer's and also of their caregivers. There are several medications available for the treatment of Alzheimer's. Your doctor will prescribe medications based on your signs and symptoms and then periodically (every 6 months) assess response to treatment.
Other measures which may help in managing AD symptoms in addition to medical treatment include:
- Avoidance of alcohol and drugs.
- Treatment of other conditions which can cause symptoms confusion, memory problems, and confusion.
- The benefits of regular exercise as a part of everyday wellness plan are evident in people with AD. Any regular activity such as jogging, cycling, brisk walking for 30 minutes daily, can help to improve mood and also maintain the health of joints, muscles and heart. It can improve sleep and prevent constipation. Some evidence suggests that regular exercise may possibly slacken the decline that is evident due to AD.
- Speech therapy can help to improve communication and maintain memory.
- Occupational therapy can help to make the person as independent as possible. Your therapist, after evaluating your capability to cope with everyday tasks alone, may make some changes in your home.
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