By: Dr. Tim Cook, FRCPC, MPH, DTMH
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia,a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. The word dementia itself is from the Latin demens, meaning the loss of one’s mind. People often assume when an older person becomes forgetful they must be living with AD or a related dementia, when in fact this can be traced to other factors, including excessive stress, anxiety or depression; sleep deficits; micronutrient deficiencies; or, hormone issues, including low thyroid, estrogen or testosterone levels. However, if any of the following ten warning signs of AD are present in you or a family member, we encourage you to see your doctor to discuss next steps.
1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information and forgetting important dates or events.
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure. People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks., including remembering the rules of a favorite game.
4. Confusion with time or place. People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. Sometimes they forget where they are or how they got there.
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. Having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast, which may cause problems with driving.
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation; may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue; or, they may repeat themselves.
6. Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places (keys in the refrigerator, for example).
7. Decreased or poor judgement. People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. They may use poor judgment when dealing with money, and pay less attention to hygiene and self-care.
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities. A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports.
10. Changes in Mood and Personality. The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious.
While the definitive diagnosis of AD can only come through post-mortem microscopic examination of the brain by a trained pathologist, there are now tests that may aid in its early diagnosis as well as tests for other treatable causes of similar symptoms. P3 Health has a multidisciplinary team of professionals and an in-house laboratory technician who are all trained to test for symptoms of dementia.
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ABOUT DR. TIM COOK: Dr. Cook is a Specialist of Internal Medicine, and P3 Health’s Medical Director. With over 25 years in the field, Dr. Cook has more recently expanded his interest in disease prevention and management with the incorporation into his life and clinical practice of integrative health and mind-body medicine.Leave a reply →