Did you know that approximately 6.5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease? Alzheimer’s symptoms usually begin after 60 and typically start with memory loss. If you have a loved one showing personality changes or trouble with memory, it’s essential to take action. Knowing more about Alzheimer’s will help you understand what to look for.
This guide will teach you what you need to know about Alzheimer’s disease.
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease progresses over time, and there is no cure. Alzheimer’s affects thinking ability, memory, and behaviors. Eventually, it progresses to the point that it affects the ability to carry out everyday tasks.
Alzheimer’s disease results from brain changes involving the formation of amyloid plaques. These plaques form abnormal levels of proteins that clump together. Eventually, the plaques deposit between the neurons in the brain and disrupt how the cells function.
Usually, Alzheimer’s disease progresses through three separate stages. People frequently go through these stages in different ways. They also can have varying symptoms with each stage.
The stages and symptoms include:
With early-stage Alzheimers, people typically function independently, and symptoms are not very noticeable. They can participate in social activities and even still drive to work. However, they may have trouble with things like:
- Trouble remembering names
- Trouble remembering familiar words
- Frequently misplacing objects
- Trouble planning and organizing
The middle stage of Alzheimer’s lasts the longest, sometimes for years. During this stage, people begin to have impulsive behaviors. They can also have trouble thinking logically and organizing thought patterns.
Symptoms become more apparent and include:
- Confusing words
- Memory loss
- Quickly becoming frustrated and angry
- Mood changes
- Withdrawing socially
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Tendency to get lost
- Personality changes
- Begin having trouble with self-care
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
Be sure to take action if you notice a loved one showing these behaviors. It’s important to speak to a doctor so they can have a thorough evaluation.
Late-stage Alzheimer’s is the final stage of this disease and when symptoms become severe. People lose the ability to carry on conversations, control movement, and respond to their environment.
Other symptoms include:
- Significant personality changes
- Poor memory and cognitive skills
- Need assistance with personal care
- Trouble walking and sitting
- Vulnerable to infections
- Sleeping often
- Weight loss
- Lack of interest in eating
- Physical decline
Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis
If your loved one is experiencing symptoms, you’ll need to see a doctor to have an assessment. The doctor will begin by asking you and your loved one questions about current symptoms. They’ll also review your loved one’s overall health and daily medications.
Next, a psychiatric evaluation checks if depression or other mental health conditions are causing symptoms. Tests for memory, attention, language, and problem-solving abilities are also done. Blood and urine tests can rule out any medical conditions that could be causing problems.
Finally, imaging tests like a CT and MRI can help to diagnose Alzheimer’s. They can also rule out other medical problems affecting the brain. Diagnosing Alzheimer’s as early as possible allows your loved one to get therapy and medication to manage symptoms. You’ll also be able to plan for the future by addressing legal matters and deciding on living arrangements.
Talk to a Doctor About Alzheimer’s Disease
If your loved one is experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important to have them evaluated as soon as possible.
If you’re looking for an experienced medical team, you can turn to Northwest Regional Health for all your needs. We offer senior care, behavioral care, wellness services, and more. We’ve been providing high-quality care since 1949 and offer comprehensive medical services.