Alzheimer’s Disease Signs & Symptoms

Rolling Hills Hospital helps individuals struggling with Alzheimer’s disease build a strong foundation for long-term recovery. Serving Ada, near Oklahoma City, Rolling Hills Hospital is the premier provider of mental health & addiction treatment for adolescents, adults & seniors.

Understanding Alzheimer's Disease

Learn about Alzheimer’s disease

When an individual is suffering from symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, it is imperative that he or she seek care for this condition. A serious form of dementia that is degenerative, Alzheimer’s disease can cause a person to experience memory loss and an overall decline in independent functioning as it progresses. An individual’s ability to communicate effectively, retain motor capabilities, and ability to live an autonomous life are in jeopardy when symptoms of this form of dementia are not treated.

Early detection of Alzheimer’s can be life-changing for sufferers. Effective therapeutic interventions are available that can slow the progression of this disease and delay the need for more intensive care. Noticing if you or a loved one is becoming increasingly forgetful, absentminded, or confused beyond what is considered normal in terms of cognitive functioning is important when it comes to identifying the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s. By receiving care as early as possible, the quality of life for sufferers of Alzheimer’s and their loved ones can ultimately be preserved.

Statistics

Alzheimer’s disease statistics

The Alzheimer’s Association reports that Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia affecting people. Especially for those between the ages of 65 and 85, there is a significant risk for this condition that increases as a person ages. Fifty to eighty percent of all dementia sufferers have Alzheimer’s disease and individuals who are 85 years or older account for nearly half of all sufferers of this condition.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease

While research has found a few specific causes for Alzheimer’s disease, there are a number of other variables that can influence the onset of symptoms. The following explanations for the causes of Alzheimer’s are supported by research and are areas to discuss with a mental health professional when seeking care for this condition:

Genetic: Genetics are believed to be a strong determinate for the development of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, it has been found that individuals with a biological parent or sibling with this disease have a fifty percent higher chance of eventually displaying symptoms of Alzheimer’s as well. In lieu of this finding, it had been concluded that this disease is heritable.

Physical: Alzheimer’s disease is directly linked to damage to a person’s brain functioning. Especially for people who have a history of prior brain trauma, there is an increased likelihood that this condition will manifest. The reason for this is because of damage to nerve cells within a person’s brain.

Environmental: Certain environmental influences are known to contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals with a history of smoking, diabetes, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and social isolation can trigger the onset of this form of dementia.

Risk Factors:

  • Being a woman
  • Being of advanced age
  • Family history of Alzheimer’s, dementia, or another mental illness
  • Having coronary artery disease
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having high cholesterol
  • Having diabetes
  • Having Down Syndrome
  • Experiencing brain or head trauma
Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

The onset of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms is initially mild, with sufferers being forgetful or misplacing items. However, when this condition is in the latter stages, sufferers may require round-the-clock assistance in order to function. If you suspect that you or a loved one is battling this disease, it is important to note the presence of any of the following signs and symptoms and seek care from a mental health professional:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Communication struggles
  • Repetitious thoughts
  • Wandering
  • Getting lost in places that were once familiar
  • Inability to adhere to instructions
  • Misplacing things
  • Social withdrawal or isolation
  • Acting out behaviors
  • Impaired social skills
  • Requiring outside assistance in order to complete tasks

Physical symptoms:

  • Poor balance
  • Weight loss
  • Tremors
  • Muscle weakness
  • Declined motor capabilities
  • Dizziness

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Memory loss
  • Lack of focus
  • Inability to reason
  • Poor decision-making
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Loss of facial / object recognition

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Aggressiveness
  • Changes in personality
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
Effects

Effects of Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative condition that progressively gets worse over time. Without treatment, the progression of Alzheimer’s can sometimes occur rapidly and lead to the following effects happening to sufferers of this disease:

  • Memory impairment
  • Loss of balance
  • Mood swings
  • Changes in personality
  • Incontinence
  • Inability to recognize friends or loved ones
  • Social isolation
  • Impaired language
  • Disorientation
  • Compromised immune system
  • Difficulty swallowing
Co-Occurring Disorders

Alzheimer’s disease and co-occurring disorders

Considering the impact Alzheimer’s disease has on the brain functioning of sufferers, it is common for another mental illness to be present at the same time. The listed mental illnesses are examples of those frequently diagnosed in people suffering from Alzheimer’s.

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Substance use disorders

So thankful to have made some great friends at Rolling Hills who could understand what I was going through.

– Former Patient
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