Alzheimer’s disease can negatively affect an individual’s quality of life. It develops slowly and causes changes in the brain for years until symptoms become noticeable.
The size of the brain of people with Alzheimer’s decreases by 2 per cent to 3 per cent per year, faster than healthy people who experience 0.2 per cent to 0.5 per cent decrease in size every year, according to SelfHacked.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease commonly occur years after the progression of changes in the brain. That means it may be difficult to reverse the effects of the condition due to long-term damage.
These changes could eventually interfere with the daily functioning of the patient. But diagnosing Alzheimer’s earlier could still offer some benefits such as access to treatment options that could reduce its symptoms.
Memory loss is one of the most common effects of Alzheimer’s disease. It is also among the first symptoms to appear in the early stages of the condition.
Having problems with memory could disrupt an individual’s functions. A patient may experience:
Forgetfulness. This increases the patient’s dependence on family members. They tend to forget important dates or events faster and to ask the same questions repeatedly.
Misplacing things. This is one of the most common signs of memory loss. The patient frequently forgets where they placed things and blame others for losing the object.
Speaking or writing problems. It would be hard to follow a conversation. The patient may struggle to construct sentences or finding the right words, repeat their statements or frequently stop in the middle of a conversation.
Personality changes. They become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious more often. The patient also gets easily upset with friends and family members despite close relationships.
Delay in tasks. One of the early signs of Alzheimer’s linked to memory loss is finding it difficult to do regular tasks. The patient may struggle with recalling rules or driving to a familiar location.
Lost sense of time. Aside from remembering previously regular tasks or activities, the patient may have a hard time tracking seasons and the passage of time.
Eye problems. A patient with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease may experience vision problems. The condition could make it hard for them to read, measure distance and determine the colour.
Poor judgment. It involves problems with decision-making. Family members may notice changes in how the patient takes care of his/her body or wear clothes.
Problem-solving. The patient may find it difficult to follow a plan or instructions. They may also have problems with numbers such as counting payments or change.
Losing interest in activities. The patient may start withdrawing from previously enjoyed social activities, sports, hobbies, social activities and even work.
Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease
To date, there is no biological test available that could directly diagnose Alzheimer’s. Doctors commonly use records of medical and family history or family observations to identify initial signs of the condition.
But they may also recommend blood tests and brain scans to determine other conditions or diseases that may be causing changes in the body.
Source: Medical Daily