One of the more significant challenges that we face is the continued growth of Alzheimer’s Disease. It is essentially a neurodegenerative that will start out slowly, and then gradually get worse over a period of time. For some people, the symptoms will come more rapidly, while others make take years and years to fully come to fruition. Regardless, it is an important disease to watch out for, and to pay attention to potential symptoms.
Pre-dementia symptoms are usually mistaken for other medical issues, such as stress, anxiety or traditional issues associated with the aging process. They usually take the form of affecting daily living, such as difficulty in remembering tasks, names or projects.
To get an accurate depiction of the process of how Alzheimer’s can affect one’s life, let’s take a quick look at the various stages in terms of severity:
The first stage is general almost unnoticeable. Only a PET scan can determine if the brain is functioning well enough, or if there are signs of trouble in its functioning. One may notice the smallest flicker of issues here and there but may attribute it to other causes.
The next stage can show up as a low to mild decline in one’s cognitive functions, such as forgetting something that one has already read, repeating questions or having trouble remembering names. Again, it is not always unusual for these symptoms, and in fact many people genuinely have trouble remembering names and faces, or forgetting where they placed their keys. It all depends on the context and the repeating of the symptoms. If there is a significantly noticeable difference within the space of a few weeks or a few months, it warrants further investigation.
From here on out, symptoms can range from moderate to severe, and can entail everything from forgetting what day of the month it is, to forgetting the names of close family members. This stage generally marks a continual decline to a point where an individual has difficulty feeding themselves, or needing help to use the bathroom.
While it is estimated that over 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease, there is expectation for the numbers to grow further given the aging of the population. There is no known cure as of yet for this disease, but there are multiple types of cognitive therapy that can make a significant difference. If you suspect a loved one may be developing symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, set up an appointment with a mental health or cognitive specialist today.