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Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is a significant loss of brain function, or what used to be called “senility”.   Alzheimer’s targets a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is the seat of memory and intellect.  A healthy brain makes a critical nerve chemical called acetylcholine. When the brain cells become damaged, they can no longer make acetylcholine.  As your acetylcholine levels drop, your brain gets inflamed, resulting in formations called amyloid plaques.

This causes loss of brain cells, especially those that make new memories and retrieve old ones.  And slowly but surely you develop signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s.  We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease below.

The Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease:

People often experience momentary forgetfulness, or they are unable to think of the correct word from time to time, and they start to wonder if they are getting Alzheimer’s. There are distinct differences between Alzheimer’s and everyday forgetfulness. Here’s how to tell the difference:

  • You forget things once in a while – NO
  • You forget things often, never recall things and ask the same question over and over – YES
  • You forget where you put your eyeglasses – NO
    You forget that you wear eyeglasses – YES
  • You can’t find your car keys – NO
  • You can’t find your car keys because you left them in the kitchen cupboard, or in the freezer – YES

Other Symptoms of Alzheimer’s include:

  • Sudden mood swings
  • Impaired judgment
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Difficulty finding the right word
  • Behavior changes
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Dementia
  • Childlike passivity
  • Sudden episodes of violence or rage
  • Inability to manage basic tasks
  • Depression
  • Inappropriate behavior

Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease

These tests are commonly used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease:

  • A CT scan
  • An MRI
  • An electroencephalogram
  • Routine blood work
  • Toxic metal testing

Books for People With Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease:

The Alzheimer’s Action Plan: The Experts’ Guide to the Best Diagnosis and Treatment for Memory Problems
P. Murali Doraiswamy
The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss in Later Life, 4th Edition
Peter V. Rabins

Inside Alzheimer’s: How to Hear and Honor Connections with a Person who has Dementia
Nancy D. Pearce
Alzheimer’s Early Stages: First Steps for Family, Friends and Caregivers
Daniel Kuhn

Alzheimer’s Disease Resources

General Patient Resources

  • Alzheimer’s Association

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, you are not alone. The Alzheimer’s Association is the trusted resource for reliable information, education, referral and support to millions of people affected by the disease.

  • National Institute on Aging – Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center

NIA, one of the U.S. Government’s National Institutes of Health, leads a national research program on the biomedical, social, and behavioral aspects of aging.

  • Alzheimers Disease . com

At ALZHEIMERSDISEASE.COM you’ll find a complete resource of what Alzheimer’s disease dementia is and what may cause it.

  • Alzheimer Society

Alzheimer’s disease — what it is, warning signs, diagnosis and causes. The latest information from the Alzheimer Society of Canada.

  • E Health Forum

Welcome to the Alzheimer Disease Forum – a health community featuring member and doctor discussions ranging from a specific symptom to related conditions, treatment options, medication, side effects, diet, and emotional issues surrounding medical conditions.

  • Healing Well . com

Message boards and chat dedicated to sharing information, offering support, and coping strategies to deal with Alzheimer’s Disease. Particularly useful for caregivers.

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, causes, treatment of this debilitating disorder.

  • Pub Med Health

Reviews causes, symptoms, risk factors, treatment, prognosis and complications.

  • Medline Plus

A service of the US National Library of Medicine.