A new report released in conjunction with National Alzheimer's Awareness Month states that most family members miss the earliest signs of Alzheimer's in their loved ones.
Why? Simply because they don't know what symptoms they need to look for. This article will tell you how to recognize the classic Alzheimer's symptoms in those around you.
The early warning signs (markers) of Alzheimer's are usually very subtle, sometimes appearing months or even years before the characteristic memory loss and other clinical symptoms become apparent.
But these Alzheimer's markers are often misunderstood or unrecognized by family and friends. The signs of Alzheimer's include:
Over four million older Americans currently live with Alzheimer's Disease. We observe National Alzheimer's Awareness Month each November to help friends and family become better informed about Alzheimer's.
- Depression: Over half of all Alzheimer's patients exhibit symptoms of clinical depression as early as two years before memory loss becomes apparent.
- Loss of the sense of smell: Although they're usually unaware of it, the affected person's ability to discern common odors may decrease by a wide margin. The sense of taste usually remains intact however.
- Loss of hearing: The common warning signs include keeping the TV volume too loud as well as avoiding use of the phone and face-to-face conversations.
- Impairment of visual and spatial abilities: The affected person may have difficulty remembering visual details about objects and locations. They may also have problems following directions and using maps.
- Unusual fingerprint patterns: Up to three-fourths of Alzheimer's patients have an abnormal number of ulnar loop patterns on their fingertips.
These patterns are similar to those found on people with Down's Syndrome, suggesting that some people may possibly have a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's.
Being able to recognize the early signs of potential Alzheimer's related problems is extremely important because the sooner a person is diagnosed and treatment is started, the better their chances for enjoying a longer, healthier, and happier life.
Jim Erskine is the owner of Homeway Press.
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