Health topic

Alzheimer’s Disease

Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s can lead to measures that help preserve cognitive function, prolong independent living, and improve quality of life, symptom management and the efficacy of disease-modifying therapies.

Signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's, such as cognitive decline, manifest years after disease onset. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition that may be the first outward sign of Alzheimer’s in its earliest stages. 
 
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Alzheimer’s disease affects memory, behavior, problem-solving and daily activities. It’s a medical condition – not part of normal aging – and one of the biggest public health challenges of our time. View the table below to compare normal signs of aging and Alzheimer’s.
Normal aging
Alzheimer's
Occasionally making poor decisions Frequently making poor decisions and having poor judgment
Occasional errors with managing finances Trouble keeping track of bills and concentrating
Occasionally needing help with daily tasks Difficulty completing daily tasks
Getting confused about what day of the week it is, but remembering it later Confusion about place and time, including losing track of dates and sometimes forgetting where you are and how you got there
Having difficulty finding the right word once in awhile Struggling with vocabulary, as well as trouble joining or following a conversation
Occasionally misplacing items, but having the ability to retrace steps and find them Misplacing items, but losing the ability to retrace steps to find them
Lack of interest in social and familial obligations from time to time Withdrawal from work, hobbies and social obligations
Irritability when a routine is disrupted  Changes in personality and mood, including getting easily upset
Changes with vision, which can be related to cataracts Difficulty understanding visual images and spatial relationships
Forgetting appointment or names once in a while, but remembering them afterwards Forgetting recently learned information and asking for the information repeatedly or relying on others for things previously handled on one's own

 

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Many people with Alzheimer’s are not aware they have it or have not been diagnosed; although, surveys by the Alzheimer’s Association found that 85% of people would want to know early if they had the disease.1

An early and accurate diagnosis allows those facing Alzheimer's, under the guidance of their physician, an opportunity to take steps to preserve cognitive function, make better care plans, and get involved in clinical research that may lead to new treatments. Learn more here.

 

 

Reference
  1. https://www.alz.org/media/documents/alzheimers-facts-and-figures.pdf. Last accessed February 2023.

 

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