Protect the Memories: Don’t Sleep on Symptoms is a unique series focused on early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
Have you ever spent what felt like a long time searching for your eyeglasses, only to realize they’re on your face? Or maybe you misplaced keys in the refrigerator. Sometimes, forgetfulness is your mind’s way of saying, “Slow down, please.” But, unfortunately, your mind could also be hinting at Alzheimer’s disease.
Common symptoms for Alzheimer’s disease include:
- Confusion about times and locations
- Placing items in unexpected places
- Asking the same questions or repeating phrases
- Gradually stepping away from social activities
- Gradual difficulty completing routine tasks
- Neglecting personal hygiene
People typically begin to have Alzheimer’s disease symptoms after 65-years-old. The causes vary, and there’s still a lot of research being done. A good way to stay on top of mental health is to log the symptoms you’re having. Take note of where you are, who you’re with, and how you feel when it happens. The pandemic has taken a toll on all of us, so forgetting is not unusual. Be gentle with yourself.
Try tracking behavior over a few months.
It’s always good to share what you’re experiencing with someone you trust. Talk with family members, friends, colleagues, or neighbors. Have they noticed anything different about you? Are they concerned about changes in your voice or speech patterns? Has your hygiene changed? If the pandemic’s got you more isolated, ask for feedback from people you see on a semi-regular basis.
Learn about your family’s medical history. Although not everyone with Alzheimer’s has a history of it in their family, knowing whether any family members ever had the disorder could help on your journey. There may have been symptoms they ignored in the beginning, which led to a delay in diagnosis. The easiest way to get information is to ask your family questions. It is helpful to speak with family with whom you have a biological relationship. If you don’t have a way of getting in touch with your biological relatives, then consider a simple screening test for Alzheimer’s and other disorders.
There are many people like you who are looking for answers. Some are in support groups and could help you pinpoint resources to meet your needs. The answers you get could be the difference between an early and late diagnosis.
Talk with a medical professional. Regularly misplacing your keys may be a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, but it is different from receiving an actual diagnosis of the disorder. After you’ve tracked your symptoms and spoken with loved ones, see a trained medical professional. If possible, bring your symptoms log and a trusted relative or friend with you. Ask the doctor these basic questions:
- What tests are available to detect Alzheimer’s?
- What are good ways to continue my daily activities with my present symptoms?
- What treatments are available?
Here are a few more questions you may want to ask.
Join a clinical trial. Researchers have made great contributions to advancements in Alzheimer’s disease over the years, but there’s a lot more work to be done about getting diagnosed in a timely manner in our community. A good way to seek support is by participating in a clinical trial. You can also learn about research studies here.
Do you have a story you’d like to share about you or a loved one’s journey with Alzheimer’s disease? Get in touch with us by completing the form below.