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Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease

To be able to understand Alzheimer’s, one must understand dementia. Dementia is a term used to classify memory loss and a decline in cognitive ability. Alzheimer’s is one of the diseases listed under the umbrella of dementia. This degenerative disease starts to show signs in people as young as 30 and reaches the full-blown stage when the person is in the 60s and 70s. Alzheimer’s begins mildly with symptoms that may be perceived as regular forgetfulness. As the disease gets worse, so do these symptoms and patients start to exhibit physical signs of distress.

Signs and symptoms

Alzheimer’s symptoms vary depending on the stage the patient is in. Mild symptoms are less noticeable than severe symptoms. By the time the person has severe Alzheimer’s, that person may have already been placed in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Early signs don’t just include memory loss.

1. Trouble with vision and spatial relationships

As Alzheimer’s develops in the body, the disease slowly interferes with a person’s vision. People with Alzheimer’s have difficulty detecting motion. This can make driving difficult. Patients also have trouble with depth perception, judging distances, and peripheral vision.

2. Issues speaking

People with Alzheimer’s have trouble speaking and may struggle to find the right words to express thoughts and feelings or forget to finish a sentence or thought. Communication issues are a significant part of Alzheimer’s progression. People with the disease can lose the ability to read and write clearly. For people that know multiple languages, the ability to speak or understand other languages will diminish.

3. Hallucinations and delusions

Delusions and hallucinations are things that people in the moderate to severe stage of Alzheimer’s experience. During these occurrences, patients will see and hear things that are not there. Patients can also suffer from paranoia and become distrustful of others.

4. Skin infections

People with dementia may not even be aware of skin infections. The person may not be able to describe the pain or infection. Cognitive decline affects all areas of the body, so a person’s physical health will also decline.

Knowing the facts

Alzheimer’s symptoms can be confusing because many of the symptoms mimic other diseases. A healthcare provider will be able to examine a patient to determine if the person has the disease and the next steps to take.