Alzheimer’s disease: How to spot early signs in elders


Ageing is a natural phenomenon. It comes with changes which may be challenging for a person and others around that person to deal with. A frail body with weaker bones, sagging skin, vision problems, digestion issues, bowel movements and dimming memory are some signs of ageing that are inevitable. One health issue which is not a part of normal ageing, but has age has one of its greatest risk factors is Alzheimer’s disease. If you have elderly family members at home, you must know how to spot early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the World Health Organization, Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, which causes one’s cognitive function to deteriorate. These include memory, thinking and behaviour. Alzheimer’s disease is said to contribute to around 70 percent of cases of dementia. So, it is important to be aware about it to not just prevent the risk of Alzheimer’s disease but also identify it within one’s home and vicinity.

What are the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease?

While anyone can develop Alzheimer’s disease, certain factors can increase a person’s risk of being diagnosed with the condition. These risk factors include:

Age:

The risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease increases with age, and the majority of cases occur in people over the age of 65.

Alzheimer's disease risks
Age is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Family history:

People with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease are more likely to develop the condition. As per the Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology, Alzheimer’s disease is of two types – early-onset AD (EOAD) and late-onset AD (LOAD), both marked by age factor. These may occur in people with a positive family history of Alzheimer’s disease, and and in some cases, at least three generations may be affected, notes the journal.

Genetics:

Certain genetic mutations can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Other medical conditions

Conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The WHO defines hypertension and diabetes as modifiable comorbidities, which may lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

It is important to talk to your doctor about your individual risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and the steps you can take to reduce your risk.

Also read: Chris Hemsworth is taking a hiatus due to high risk of Alzheimer’s: Everything to know about this condition

diabetes
Watch your diabetes and cholesterol levels. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are the signs of Alzheimer’s disease?

The signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can vary depending on the stage of the condition.

Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease may include:

Memory loss: Memory loss often one of the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. People with the condition may have trouble remembering recent events, names or familiar places.

Difficulty with problem-solving and decision-making: People with Alzheimer’s
disease may have trouble making decisions or solving problems.

Changes in mood and behaviour: People with Alzheimer’s disease may experience mood swings, irritability, and changes in their personality.

Alzheimer's can lead to memory loss
Alzheimer’s can lead to memory loss in extreme cases. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are the progressive effects of Alzheimer’s disease:

Difficulty with language: People with Alzheimer’s disease may have trouble finding the right words to express themselves, or they may repeat the same words or phrases over and over.

Disorientation: People with Alzheimer’s disease may become confused about time, place or people.

Loss of motivation: People with Alzheimer’s disease may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, or they may withdraw from social interactions.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to talk to a doctor. Only a doctor can provide a proper diagnosis and determine the best course of treatment.



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