Is It Memory Loss or Alzheimer’s Disease?
Do you often lose your keys? Tend to forget people’s names easily? It can be disturbing when we experience lapses in memory. But does it signal a real problem?
Losing your keys might put you behind schedule, but it doesn’t impact how you function on a day-to-day basis—a key issue in memory loss with Alzheimer’s disease. Examples of memory loss in people with Alzheimer’s include asking the same question over and over again or continually forgetting information soon after they’ve learned it.
A Snapshot of Alzheimer’s Symptoms
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia—a term that describes changes in the brain that cause problems with thinking, reasoning and functioning. Although memory loss that interferes with daily life is one sign of the disease, there are other symptoms to watch for, too. Some include:
- Difficulty following instructions or solving problems. Alzheimer’s disease can make it difficult to solve problems or follow a plan. This is especially true when it involves numbers. For example, people with Alzheimer’s may have ongoing difficulty handling money, paying the bills or following a familiar recipe. Making a mistake now and again is not cause for concern.
- Changes in personality. Everyone gets in a bad mood sometimes, but it is common for people with Alzheimer’s disease to experience changes in overall personality. Some people with the disease become more aggressive, tense, fearful or confused.
- Problems completing familiar tasks. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble completing simple tasks that were once easy, such as grocery shopping or cooking. The reasons can be many—from getting lost driving to forgetting how to use the kitchen stove.
Focusing on Treatment
If you recognize any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. Although there is no single clinical test to diagnose Alzheimer’s, your doctor will provide a comprehensive evaluation to diagnose the disease, which may include a physical exam, mental status assessments, blood and urine tests, imaging tests, and more.
Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disease is not curable. However, you may be prescribed medications that can help reduce symptoms, help you function better, and live independently longer.
Admitting that you or a loved one might have signs of dementia can be difficult and even a little scary. But getting help can help you better manage the disease and live your best life possible.
If you have questions about the medications prescribed for Alzheimer’s disease, talk to your Rite Aid Pharmacist.
“10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's.” Alzheimer’s Association, 2013.www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_10_signs_of_alzheimers.asp.
“About Alzheimer's Disease: Symptoms.” National Institute on Aging. Accessed May 25, 2013. www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/topics/symptoms.
“Diagnosing Alzheimer’s.” Alzheimer’s Association. Accessed May 28, 2013. www.alz.org/professionals_and_researchers_diagnosing_alzheimers.asp.
“Forgetfulness: Knowing When To Ask For Help.” National Institute on Aging. Updated April 30, 2013. www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/forgetfulness-knowing-when-ask-help.