Medical Perspectives | Others

July 11, 2020



"May Alzheimer's ka na ba?"

 

More and more that question is heard and asked, sometimes in jest, at times with seriousness, as people equate memory loss with the disease.  Alzheimer's disease is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking processes and behavior.1 There are ten types of dementia, which is a "progressive and sometimes chronic brain condition"2, such as vascular dementia, Parkinson's disease dementia, Huntington's disease, and Frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Alzheimer's disease is believed to be the most prevalent among the types of dementia, with about 60-80% of people with dementia diagnosed with Alzheimer's.3

 

To help answer that pervasive question, we list the indicators of Alzheimer's disease. What signs do we watch out for?

 

The Alzheimer's Association lists 10 early signs and symptoms:4

  • Memory loss, including forgetting recently learned information, important dates, and asking the same questions repeatedly
  • Difficulty in planning or solving problems, like following an often-used recipe or tracking monthly bills
  • Inability of completing familiar or daily tasks, such as driving to a familiar destination or remembering the rules of a favorite game
  • Confusion with time or place, forgetting where they are or losing track of time
  • Trouble with visual images and spatial relationships, such as vision problems or difficulty judging distance when driving
  • Difficulty in speaking or writing, like following a conversation, stopping in the middle of a discussion
  • Losing things, and not remembering previous steps to find the lost items
  • Change in judgement and decision-making, be it in money matters, grooming or other regular activities
  • Withdrawal from social activities, which may arise from inability to carry a conversation
  • Personality and mood changes, including feelings of confusion, suspiciousness, fear or anxiety

 

The National Institute on Aging lists symptoms for moderate Alzheimer's Disease5 as follows:

  • Increased memory loss and confusion
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts and thinking logically
  • Shortened attention span
  • Problems coping with new situations
  • Problems recognizing family and friends
  • Hallucinations and paranoia
  • Impulsive behavior, including undressing in public or using vulgar language
  • Inappropriate outbursts of anger
  • Restlessness and wandering, especially late afternoon or evening
  • Repetitive statements or movement, including muscle twitches

 

These signs and symptoms are clear indicators of a condition that merits a visit to the doctor at the earliest possible time. The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the sooner the proper treatment and medications can be prescribed and implemented.

 

[1] Alzheimer's Association. [n.d.] What Is Alzheimer's Disease? Retrieved from https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers

[2] Goldberg, J. [2017, February]. Types of Dementia. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/alzheimers-dementia#1

[3] Goldberg, J. [2017, February]. Types of Dementia. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/alzheimers-dementia#1-2

[4] Alzheimer's Association. [n.d.] 10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's. Retrieved from https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/10_signs

[5] National Institute on Aging. [2017, May]. What are the signs of Alzheimer's Disease? Retrieved from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-are-signs-alzheimers-disease

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