Early Signs of Alzheimer's Disease - Spotting the Symptoms

Wondering what are the typical early signs of Alzheimer's disease (AD)?

Because Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease, early recognition and diagnosis monumentally improves a patient’s prognosis. Not only does this mean that treatment to counteract the progression of the illness will begin earlier, but it also allows medication that slows Alzheimer’s progression to be prescribed.

Fortunately, there are multiple Alzheimer’s early signs, the recognition of which is not particularly difficult once one is made aware of what to look for.

So, what are some early signs of Alzheimer's?

One of the first ways to recognize Alzheimer’s is the noticeable change in mental capability. When memory changes begin to disrupt daily life, Alzheimer’s may be present. Forgetting information that has been learned recently, or forgetting important dates / appointments are examples of abnormal memory loss that may need to be evaluated by a physician.

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A note about Early Signs of Alzheimer's Disease - Spotting the Symptoms

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Disorientation is a prominent indicator of the presence of Alzheimer’s; if you or a loved one have noticed increasing confusion with time or place, it may be a sign of Alzheimer’s. It is normal to become confused about the day of week, for example, but this forgetfulness is generally accompanied by later recalling what has been forgotten, rather than a pervasive sense of confusion.

Another of the early signs of Alzheimer's is difficulty understanding visual images and spatial relationships. Vision problems are a sign of Alzheimer’s for some people, which may manifest as trouble reading, judging distance, and / or difficulty with determining depth, color, or contrast. Furthermore, a person may have problem with perception, for example being unable to recognize oneself in the mirror.

Problems with Daily Life

There are a number of early signs of Alzheimer's disease that may manifest as difficulty with the tasks of daily living. One symptom of Alzheimer’s is a decreased ability to make decisions, or the development of a poor sense of judgment; examples of this include making poor financial decisions and having trouble with personal hygiene.

Misplacing items and the inability to “re-trace one’s steps” are also marked indicators of the presence of Alzheimer’s; people with AD may put things in unusual places, or have a reduced capacity to recall the steps in placing an item in a given location. It is typical to lose things from time to time, particularly as the aging process occurs, but this occurs with great frequency in people suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Simple problem solving or planning that is a party of everyday living becomes increasingly difficult for people suffering from Alzheimer’s; they may have trouble balancing a checkbook, following a familiar recipe, or driving to a familiar location. As changes in ability to function affect an individual in an increasingly pervasive manner, it is essential to seek outside assistance; even if Alzheimer’s is not present, it is not necessary to have difficulty with everyday living and help is available.

Changes in social skills and / or ability are also common early signs of Alzheimer's disease. Trouble following or joining a conversation, or other difficulties with words in speaking or writing are all indications that an evaluation for Alzheimer’s may be necessary.

Yet another of the early signs of Alzheimer's disease is withdrawal from work or social activities. People with Alzheimer’s may remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects, or sports, and may become isolated. It is not uncommon for people with Alzheimer’s to remove themselves because of the changes they have experienced.

Changes in Mood and Personality

One of the early signs of Alzheimer's that often prompts people to seek help is the marked changes in mood and / or personality. It is very important not to write off the development of confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, or anxious feelings as part of the aging process, as they are quite serious.

These feelings can be observed most often when the afflicted person is removed from their comfort zone. Although changes in social behavior may not necessarily mean Alzheimer’s is present, it is imperative to notice these symptoms and to seek treatment for them.


Learning the early signs of Alzheimer's disease can be instrumental in recognizing the ailment in oneself or a loved one. Early diagnosis substantially improves the future outlook for a person with Alzheimer’s.

Many times, people believe the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are a normal part of aging, and do not seek help until the disease has progressed; it is important to be sensitive to changes in loved ones and oneself as the aging process occurs, as it can ensure a longer, healthier life.

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