SEPTEMBER: WORLD ALZHEIMER'S MONTHby Phillips Clinic on 11/24/21
WHAT IS ALZHEIMER’S
Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.
Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer's are 65 and older. But Alzheimer's is not just a disease of old age. Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease (also known as early-onset Alzheimer’s).
Alzheimer's worsens over time. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer's, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Those with Alzheimer's live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.
Alzheimer's has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. Although current Alzheimer's treatments cannot stop Alzheimer's from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer's and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.
MEMORY LOSS THAT DISRUPTS DAILY LIFE
One of the most common signs of Alzheimer's is memory loss, especially forgetting recently
learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; increasingly needing to rely on memory aids or family members for
things they used to handle on heir own.
CHALLENGES IN PLANNING OR SOLVING PROBLEMS
Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
DIFFICULTY COMPLETING FAMILIAR TASKS AT HOME, AT WORK OR
People with Alzheimer's often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
CONFUSION WITH TIME OR PLACE
People with Alzheimer's can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.
TROUBLE UNDERSTANDING VISUAL IMAGES AND SPATIAL RELATIONSHIPS
Vision problems may be a sign of Alzheimer's. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast, which may cause problems with driving.
NEW PROBLEMS WITH WORDS IN SPEAKING OR WRITING
People with Alzheimer's may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name.
MISPLACING THINGS AND LOSING THE ABILITY TO RETRACE STEPS
A person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing.
DECREASED OR POOR JUDGMENT
People with Alzheimer's may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. They may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.
WITHDRAWAL FROM WORK
OR SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
A person with Alzheimer's may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports.
CHANGES IN MOOD AND PERSONALITY
The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer's can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset.
Ask your provider for a Cognitive Assessment.