Our site is undergoing some routine maintenance.

If you find a feature you need is not functioning, please contact us.

Early Signs of Alzheimers Disease: Information - DementiaGuide.com
Home Learn Track Join Bookmark Search Print Help

About Dementia
Alzheimer's Disease

Early Signs

Manypeople worry about getting Alzheimer's disease , especially when a parent or grandparent has previously received this diagnosis . Part of the worry stems from the fact that some of the earliest signs of Alzheimer's disease are similar to age-related problems which many people can experience but still never develop the illness. For example, it is common that people who develop Alzheimer's disease first notice that their memory is not as good as it used to be. But being aware that your memory is worse is not the same as having the disease, because memory complaints are extremely common as people get older, and do not of themselves mean dementia. In fact, most people who recognize that their memory is not as good as it used to be do not go on to develop dementia.

The following three things take the problem of poor memory complaints into the realm of dementia:

  1. One is when the problem extends beyond memory and affects other aspects of cognition such as language (e.g. problems finding the right word) or money calculation (e.g. inability to make change). Even these problems, in and of themselves, do not mean that a person has dementia.

  2. For that to be the case these problems have to be severe enough to interfere with function, in other words, they have to begin to interfere with people doing what they would ordinarily do in the course of a day. But even this isn't the whole story.

  3. Particularly in the last few years, we have come to recognize that dementia occurs when people with memory and other cognitive problems also have problems with judgment, insight and their emotional relationships with others. These things are called executive function .

Without treatment, a common picture of someone with mild dementia might look like this. The individual has trouble with recent memory (e.g. might ask the same question several times in close succession, or read the morning paper and not remember any details of what they have read). Typically, at this stage, the person is beginning to have difficulty with certain complex functions such as using the telephone, managing finances, taking medications or driving. Also, it is common during the mild stage forpeople tohave difficulty controlling their emotions,which can lead to them becoming irritable and short-tempered.

More worrisome early signs are repetitive questioning, unreasonable suspicion of other people, mistakes at the bank or with finances, or poor judgment about important issues. Such signs or any of the 10 warning signs of dementia featured by many organizations such as the Alzheimer Society of Canada or the Alzheimer's Association (US) should prompt a consultation with a doctor.

See Also:
Symptom Library > Memory & Language > Repetitive Questions/ Stories
Learn Track Join About Us Contact Information Dementia Community Site Map
Last updated January 15, 2019
©2006 DementiaGuide Inc.
Terms of Use Your Privacy