Early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease
Confusion and disorientation are common symptoms of Alzheimer's.
Early symptoms may be periods of forgetfulness or memory loss. Over time, a person may become confused or disoriented as to where they are in familiar settings, including in the home.
Other symptoms could include:
- Changes in mood or personality
- Confusion as to time or place
- Difficulty with routine tasks, such as doing laundry, sweeping, or cooking
- Difficulty recognizing common objects
- Difficulty recognizing people
- Frequently misplacing things
Aging can result in impaired memory, but Alzheimer's disease results in more consistent periods of forgetfulness.
Over time, a person with Alzheimer's may need more and more help with activities of daily living, such as brushing teeth, getting dressed, and cutting food. They may become easily agitated, restless, experience personality withdrawals, and have difficulty speaking.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the survival rate for a person with Alzheimer's disease is usually 8 to 10 years after symptoms first appear. Because a person cannot care for themselves or they may not recognize the importance of eating, common causes of death include malnutrition, body wasting, or pneumonia.
When to see a doctor
Discussing the need for medical attention regarding memory changes can be challenging, but it is important to seek help to rule out other conditions. Other conditions that can cause dementia include a UTI or a brain tumor.