Do I Have Alzheimer’s? When To Visit Your Doctor
As we age, we tend to forget or misplace things. And that’s normal. But there are times when what seem to be simple symptoms can be signs of something more serious. If you have asked yourself the question, do I have Alzheimer’s? This article is for you. Let’s review some early signs of Alzheimer’s from the Alzheimer’s Association website. If these match your behavior or that of a loved one, please contact your trusted doctor.
*This article is not intended as medical advice or treatment. Always consult your physician with any concerns you have about your health.
Disruptive memory loss
Forgetting recently learned information is a common symptom of Alzheimer’s. You may forget important dates or events, rely more on notes or apps to remember things, or require friends or family members to remind you more often. However, as you age, it’s natural to forget things and then remember them later, such as appointments or names.
Difficulty planning or solving problems
You may have difficulty managing household tasks, such as paying bills or balancing checkbooks. You could also have trouble concentrating on these tasks and need more time to complete them.
Trouble completing familiar tasks
You may find trouble completing familiar tasks like driving to an old friend’s house or navigating your grocery store.
Confusing time or place
Sometimes, you may not recognize where you are or how you got there. You may forget what month it is, when your son’s birthday is, or how long it’s been since you arrived somewhere.
Blurry or distorted vision
Vision problems that make walking, reading, or driving tricky are also a sign to consider. You can additionally have trouble determining the distance or the color of objects. These could also be signs of cataracts, so it may be a good idea to check in with your eye doctor if your only symptom is vision problems.
Problems conversing with others or finding words
You may find it challenging to follow a conversation or express yourself when speaking with others. A person struggling with Alzheimer’s may repeat themselves, stop mid-sentence, or forget the names of ordinary or familiar objects.
Misplacing things and losing the ability to find them
For many people, it’s normal to misplace something or find them in an unusual spot. People with Alzheimer’s tend to misplace things but cannot go back and methodically retrace their steps to find them. You may think someone else has taken your items when you just put them somewhere unexpected.
Lack of judgment
You may find it more challenging to make decisions or stay on top of things like financial management or consistently showering/grooming.
Withdrawing from social activities
Patients struggling with Alzheimer’s are less able to follow conversations or remember engagement. You may withdraw from favorite activities or social groups and need help to stay engaged with activities such as a book club or your local walking group.
Changing mood or personality
You may experience new, unfamiliar moods and feelings such as confusion, suspicion, depression, fear, or anxiety. People and situations that used to bring you joy may make you irritable or upset. New and unfamiliar situations may feel scary and impossible to deal with.
A Note on Genetics and Alzheimer’s
Just because someone in your family has Alzheimer’s does not mean you are necessarily going to develop it as well. Conversely, people with no family history of Alzheimer’s can still develop it. Both environmental and genetic factors play a role when it comes to Alzheimer’s. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, those who have a first-degree relative with Alzheimer’s (mother, father, or sibling) are more likely to develop the disease than those who don’t. Talk to your doctor about your family’s medical history so you can take the appropriate steps for your health.