Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the brain that is associated with memory loss, confusion and disorientation. It becomes progressively worse with the passage of time, forcing patients to seek palliative care. The patient becomes bedridden, cannot be left unsupervised and becomes very dependent on his/her caregivers.
Approaching the correct diagnosis is very critical in Alzheimer’s as it can help the patient with the correct intervention strategies. It gives them a chance to seek treatment as well as plan for the future. Here are some of the classic symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Top Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s Disease
One of the most profound and characteristic symptoms of Alzheimer’s is the loss of memory. It starts with minor forgetfulness, which is normally overlooked by the patient and his/her family members. With time, the memory loss deepens and you find patients are unable to remember simple aspects like their own names, addresses or the way to their homes.
It is not uncommon to see an Alzheimer’s patient frightened and lost. They forget important dates and events and have to resort to memory aids in order to remember information.
Inability To Plan And Solve Problems
There may be an insidious affect on the way they plan and organise things in their life. The skills required for planning often receive a setback. They are also unable to solve simple arithmetic problems and puzzles, which they used to earlier enjoy doing. Difficulties in concentrating are very apparent in these patients.
Inability To Complete Simple Tasks
It is not uncommon to see a patient with Alzheimer’s struggling to complete a simple task like sorting clothes for laundry or being able to dress. Writing down a grocery list or remembering the rules of their favourite game may not come very easily to them. This disability progresses to become worse as the dementia goes from being moderate to severe.
Confusion With Time Or Place
Patients suffering from Alzheimer’s have problems remembering important dates like birthdays, anniversaries and other important occasions. They have no concept of place. They may fail to recognize familiar places or forget how they got there. If something is not happening immediately, they have trouble understanding it.
Visual And Spatial Problems
There is a marked deterioration in their understanding of balance, spatial relations and vision. They cannot see colour with clarity and may not be able to make out the contrast between two pictures. That is why a number of patients find it very difficult to drive. In fact, it is very unsafe for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s to drive at all, as this can cause serious injury to life and limb.
Problems With Speech And Written Expression
There are a lot of problems experienced with speech and written expression. They are unable join in a conversation or suddenly forget what the conversation was about. They struggle with simple words and have difficulties in forming up vocabulary.
There may also be mistakes in the way they spell and pronounce certain words. They may also end up calling things by the wrong name. This is all related to problems with progressive memory loss. Alzheimer’s is a disease, which affects nearly every part of the brain.
Another problem which Alzheimer’s face is their ability to misplace things. Keys, wallets and important belongings will be forgotten or misplaced and they will have a hard time remembering where they put them. They also cannot retrace their steps and are known to get lost in places. They may become very aggressive because of this and can accuse other people of stealing.
They become poor at administering basic self care. They cannot bathe themselves or keep themselves clean. Grooming and hygiene are often overlooked as they forget the basic nuances of self-care. They are unable to assess a potentially dangerous situation. They exercise poor judgement with small children or may end up giving very large amounts of money to others without any definite security.
Withdrawal From Work And Social Activities
There may be a withdrawal from work and other social activities. They may no longer be interested in working or going out. This also happens due to an irrational fear of getting lost or making some stupid mistakes. They start staying aloof and withdrawing from their friends and relatives. Thus, their social and occupational areas of functioning become severely impaired.
Changes In Mood And Personality
It can be very frustrating for a patient suffering from Alzheimer’s to cope with the day-to-day changes and this may make him/her temperamental, violent and aggressive.
They are prone to mood swings, crying, temper tantrums and outbursts. They also become very confused, suspicious and anxious. They find it very difficult to trust the people around them or expect that people around them are being kind to them.
Prone To Injuries And Accidents
As time passes by, the condition deteriorates making it difficult and dangerous for the patient to be able to administer basic self-care. In most cases, they end up jeopardizing their own safety. They start showing poor gait and poor muscular coordination and control. This can lead to serious accidents, falls and injuries. In such cases, they cannot be left clone and need to be constantly attended to at all times.
Being Confined To The Bed
In the last few years of Alzheimer’s patients deteriorate to such an extent that there is a complete loss of speech, failure to recognize people, poor motor tasks, loss of bladder control, inability to bathe and feed themselves. This can make them practically bedridden and confined to the bed. Such patients develop another problem of bedsores, as they become more and more confined to their beds.
Hallucinations And Delirium
Hallucinations, confusion and delirium are also seen with patients of Alzheimer’s. They are extremely disoriented and may end up seeing images, thinking of things and people that are not actually present. It is not uncommon for a patient to recall or call out for someone who is dead or no longer living.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be very horrific and can make it difficult for the patient to cope with. Knowing the symptoms can help families to manage the patient better.
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