Signs and Symptoms of Early Alzheimer's Disease
by Lily Obeck
Early onset Alzheimer's disease is defined by Alzheimer's symptoms occurring before the age of 65. The symptoms are the same as the more traditional Alzheimer's, but the patient is younger. It can be hard to think of a young family member with Alzheimer's, and many times, the disease goes undiagnosed. However, a few tell-tale symptoms can let the family know when to find help.
Memory Loss That Becomes Disruptive
It is normal to forget dates, items and names occasionally, but an Alzheimer's patient will forget close family members' names or their birthdays or where they live. They will begin relying on notes or other electronic reminders to help them get through their day. The patient will also forget how to do simple tasks such as turning on the dishwasher or TV.
The patient will have difficultly solving problems or puzzles. Skills such as addition and subtraction may no longer be possible. The patient will also have problems planning out their days. They will begin to float through time, concentrating on whatever is in front of them at the moment.
The patient will become easily disoriented, taking walks and not remembering how they got there or where they are. They will also become confused about the date. Patients have been known to revert 20 or 40 years back in time.
The patient will exhibit poor judgment and decision-making. A previously frugal person may spend large amounts of money on a seemingly useless item. A once-great cook may leave food burning on the stove.
Change in Personality
Alzheimer's disease can cause mood swings, social withdrawal, depression, anxiety, aggressiveness and increased stubbornness. A previously optimistic person may now be angry and upset most of the time.