Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease

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Forgetting is the most common early symptom of Alzheimer's disease. Some people have trouble speaking in the early stages.

Symptoms of Alzheimer's

  • Forgetting names and recent events: in later stages, may forget how to do common tasks like brushing teeth
  • Showing a lack of good judgment
  • Acting confused or disoriented
  • Changes in behavior
  • Acting aggressive
  • Feeling like others are out to get them
  • Wandering: this can be unsafe if the person is not able to speak clearly or doesn't know where he or she is
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Sleeping during the day and being awake at night
  • Problems speaking, swallowing and walking
  • Depression: Up to 40% of people with Alzheimer's have depression. Depression can be treated, and quality of life greatly improved.

Getting Help
Early diagnosis will help you and your loved ones plan for the future. A doctor who specializes in Alzheimer's will use the following tools to determine if you or your loved one has Alzheimer's:

  • Take a medical history.
  • Ask about the ability to carry out daily tasks
  • Test memory, problem solving, attention, counting and language
  • Test blood, urine, or spinal fluid
  • Brain scans

These tests will help the doctor find out if the person has a problem other than Alzheimer's. Several illnesses have symptoms that are similar.

External Source

Alzheimer's Association. 2008 Alzheimer's disease facts and figures. Accessed August 12, 2008. Available at

Alzheimer's Association. Depression and Alzheimer's. Accessed August 13, 2008. Available at

National Institute on Aging. Alzheimer's disease fact sheet. Accessed August 11, 2008. Available at

Author: Dr. David Martin

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