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 www.alz.org/national/documents/report_alzfactsfigures2008.pdf.

Alzheimer's Association. Depression and Alzheimer's. Accessed August 13, 2008. Available at www.alz.org/living_with_alzheimers_depression.asp.

National Institute on Aging. Alzheimer's disease fact sheet. Accessed August 11, 2008. Available at www.nia.nih.gov/Alzheimers/Publications/adfact.htm.

Author: Dr. David Martin

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