What Are the 7 Signs of Alzheimer’s?

Reviewed on 6/29/2022

Elderly woman looking at a model of a human brain in her hand
Seven early signs of mild Alzheimer’s disease may include forgetfulness/memory loss, difficulty reasoning or problem-solving, confusion about times or places, problems with language (such as being unable to find the right words for things), losing things, poor judgment, and mood and personality changes.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, which refers to a group of brain disorders that cause problems with thinking, reasoning, judgment, and memory.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that usually starts with mild memory loss and can eventually lead to problems severe enough to interfere with a person’s daily activities and independence.

Signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s are usually mild to begin with, and slowly and progressively worsen.  

Seven early signs of mild Alzheimer’s disease may include:

  • Forgetfulness/memory loss
  • Difficulty reasoning or problem-solving
  • Confusion about times or places
  • Problems with language, such as being unable to find the right words for things
  • Losing things
  • Poor judgment 
  • Mood and personality changes

Other early signs of mild Alzheimer’s disease may include:

  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Repeating questions
  • Problems with everyday tasks such as paying bills or balancing a checkbook
  • Increased anxiety and/or aggression

As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, symptoms of moderate Alzheimer’s may include:

  • Increased memory loss and confusion 
  • Episodes of anger or aggression
  • Restlessness, agitation, anxiety, tearfulness, wandering 
  • Depression 
  • Difficulty with language, reading, writing, and working with numbers 
  • Problems with logic
  • Inability to learn new things 
  • Shortened attention span 
  • Difficulty performing tasks that require several steps, such as getting dressed 
  • Difficulty coping with new situations 
  • Inability to recognize family and friends 
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Repeating words or movements, muscle twitches
  • Loss of interest in surroundings (apathy)
  • Disorientation
  • Paranoia
  • Seeing things that aren't there (hallucinations)
  • Believing things that aren't true (delusions)

Symptoms of severe Alzheimer’s disease may include:

What Is the Treatment for Alzheimer's?

Alzheimer’s disease does not currently have a cure and there is no single treatment for the condition. 

Treatment for Alzheimer’s disease includes:

  • Medications 
    • To help maintain mental function 
  • Behavioral therapy to manage behavioral problems
    • Changing the person's environment 
    • Regular exercise
    • Avoiding triggers that cause sadness
    • Socializing with others
    • Engaging in pleasant activities that the person enjoys
  • Managing depression
  • Managing sleep problems
    • May be treated with medications
    • Behavior changes 
      • Limiting daytime naps
      • Increasing physical activity
      • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the evening
      • Maintaining daily rhythms
      • Using artificial lighting when needed during the day
      • Avoiding bright light exposures during the night to help maintain normal wake-sleep cycles
  • Managing aggression
    • Determine what triggers the aggression 
    • Strategies for family members to help lessen triggers and confrontations
    • May be treated with therapy or medication, depending on the cause 
  • Managing safety issues
    • People with Alzheimer’s disease often fall and hurt themselves
      • Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes
      • Hide loose wires or electrical cords
      • Secure loose rugs or use non-skid backing on rugs
      • Maintain well-lit walkways

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Reviewed on 6/29/2022
References
REFERENCES:

Image Source: iStock Images

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/dementia-including-alzheimer-disease-beyond-the-basics?search=Dementia&source=search_result&selectedTitle=5~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=5

https://www.fhca.org/members/qi/clinadmin/global.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/aging/aginginfo/alzheimers.htm

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet