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Major Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease

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Updated: November 7, 2006

Warning Signs of Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's disease is a neurological condition that impairs the way in which the brain functions. Alzheimer's disease causes profound organic damage to the brain and there are no medications or treatments that can stop or cure this physical neurological damage.

The major symptoms of Alzheimer's disease are:

Memory Loss and Alzheimer's Disease
Memory loss, especially memory of recent events. People with Alzheimer's forget names, places, they have problems remembering whether they have paid a bill and can often repeat information and parts of conversation. A person with Alzheimer's disease begins to forget more often.

Disorientation to Time and Place and Alzheimer's
People with Alzheimer's disease forget what day it is, what the year is, become disorientated. They can get lost in familiar surroundings, their house, their street.

Speech and Language loss and Alzheimer's Disease
Loss of language skills. This includes an inability to remember a noun or name, apparent nonsense speech, repeating the last sound or word said by someone else.

Inability to Recognize People and Things
Familiar objects and people are often not recognized.

Poor Judgement and Alzheimer's Disease
People with Alzheimer's disease become increasingly unable to make decisions and show judgement in what they do. They are unable make decisions about how to dress appropriately, know what they need to do , when to eat how to cook, how to pay and what to pay for services etc.

Spacial and Motor Skills and Alzheimer's Disease
Loss of spatial skills, in other words the loss of a sense of space; this affects many everyday tasks such as dressing, sitting down, setting a table etc. People with Alzheimer's have difficulty performing familiar tasks.

Personality Changes and Alzheimer's Disease
Personality changes are dramatic with Alzheimer's disease rather than the gradual changes that can occur with normal aging.

Common signs of personality changes in Alzheimer's disease include:

  • Loss of initiative

  • Disinterest, apathy and an inability to involve themselves in activities that were previously important or regular features of their life

  • Mood Changes. These can be dramatic and worrying happy one minute sad or angry the next. Individuals can become aggressive. There may be inappropriate sexual behavior.

  • Depression is a common feature of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Depression is a complex feature of Alzheimer's disease. Symptoms of depression may in part be due to their apparent disinterest and apathy, a realization that they are worried or anxious about their inability to remember, behave, do the things they previously could, as well as depression as an organic symptom of brain damage occurring with Alzheimer's.
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