Memory loss is the most commonly recognized sign of Alzheimer’s disease, but it is not the only sign. In fact, there are a number of signs of Alzheimer’s that appear prior to the onset of severe memory loss and during the early stages of memory loss.
Before discussing the five most missed signs of Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to note that memory loss in a person over the age of 65 is not always attributed to simple aging. In addition, minor memory loss is not always a sign of the onset of Alzheimer’s or, subsequently, dementia. Simple memory loss happens; a person forgets the name of a casual acquaintance or where she put her car keys. She may forget the name of the church where she was married or the date of her anniversary. While this is not always indicative of Alzheimer’s, it is a cause for concern in the elderly; particularly those over the age of 65. If you notice that your own memory or the memory of a loved one is progressively getting worse it is always wise to contact a doctor to discuss the potential of a bigger problem.
In addition to memory problems, let’s take a look at 5 other signs of Alzheimer’s that you might not be aware of:
1. Personality Changes
Before the onset of memory loss, a person’s personality can change significantly, which is the first sign that Alzheimer’s is a possibility. Someone with a friendly, outgoing personality may begin to show signs of grouchiness rather than her usual friendly behavior. Someone who is funny and entertaining may begin to show signs of inappropriateness. Typically, these changes are not noticed until the person begins exhibiting memory loss.
2. Difficulty with Multi-Step Tasks
The second less noticeable sign of Alzheimer’s is that a person will being having difficulty performing tasks that involve multiple steps, such as executing a difficult recipe. This person may begin avoiding difficult tasks. For example, a person that enjoys cooking may begin forgoing recipes that are complicated.
3. Vision Problems
The third in our list of signs of Alzheimer’s a person may exhibit prior to memory loss is vision problems. This could cause the patient to have trouble gauging depth perception and the differences between contrasting colors. Additionally, a person with this may have difficulty recognizing herself in the mirror as she passes by.
4. Trouble Speaking
Problem with language is another sign to watch out for. Finding the right word or phrase becomes difficult for a patient with Alzheimer’s. In addition, the person may begin repeating the same stories with alarming frequency and has no idea that she is doing it. Also, the wrong word might come out when as story is being told. For example, a person may ask for a mouth liquid instead of a drink.
5. Social Withdrawal
Social withdrawal is the fifth sign of Alzheimer’s to look out for prior to memory loss. This person may feel that she has a difficult time controlling her speech or her vision or even functioning normally and focuses so much on controlling those aspects of her life that she seems withdrawn in social situations. Rather than participating in or paying attention to conversations she will spend her time attempting to control herself so as not to embarrass herself in front of others.
It is not easy to tell whether or not a person has Alzheimer’s from these signs of Alzheimer’s alone. If the patient has all of these signs and is experiencing progressive memory loss at the same time, it is more likely that they have Alzheimer’s. However, it is important to remember that these things commonly happen to people that are never diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. If you suspect that this is the problem, contact a doctor right away for tests. The earlier that these signs of Alzheimer’s are detected, the earlier the patient can be diagnosed, and the earlier treatment can begin to slow the progression.