What are the Most Common Symptoms of Alzheimer's?

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  • Written By: Nat Robinson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2018
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The symptoms of Alzheimer's can be very broad. Memory loss is one of the most prevalent and earliest Alzheimer's symptoms. Disorientation and confusion are also very common with this disease. Other symptoms can include forgetting how to do familiar things, difficulties with language and issues with everyday problem solving. In addition, many people with Alzheimer's will show symptoms such as personality changes and mood swings.

Memory loss is generally one of the most prominent symptoms of Alzheimer's. Often, the loss of memory is not drastic at first. In fact, many people with Alzheimer's will have short-term memory loss in the beginning of the disease. For instance, the person may do something simple such as putting away the keys and moments later forget where he or she placed them. Typically, in individuals with Alzheimer's this short-term type of memory loss will evolve into a more severe and debilitating loss of memory.

Disorientation and confusion can be other symptoms of Alzheimer's. Sometimes, individuals with Alzheimer's can be in one place and moments later be completely confused as to why they're there, how long they've been there and just how they got there. Commonly, this happens in very familiar surroundings. For example, a person with Alzheimer's can be at home, at a neighborhood grocery store or at church and be totally confused about his or her location. Alzheimer's patients can also become completely disconnected from time and may grow unaware of the change of days, months, seasons and eventually years.


Frequently, a person with Alzheimer's may forget how to do familiar things. This can include completing everyday tasks such as placing a phone call and driving to a frequently visited location. Cooking long-time favorite meals may also become problematic as it may be difficult to recall the long-memorized recipes. At work, an individual with Alzheimer's may slowly forget how to perform his or her job, even if he or she has been doing it for decades. As the disease worsens, one may also forget how to perform certain tasks of daily hygiene such as bathing, combing hair and brushing one's teeth.

Problems with language and everyday problem solving can be additional symptoms of Alzheimer's. Language problems may include forgetting the correct words for the correct things. For example, a person with Alzheimer's may refer to his home as "that place where I live." In addition, the person may call things by the wrong names, such as calling a clock a watch or vice versa. Some people may struggle to complete a simple math problem or configuring the amounts to pay for monthly bills. It may also become difficult to follow simple instructions or basic directions.

Alzheimer's symptoms can also include personality changes and mood swings. For instance, a person who is usually very relaxed and mild tempered may become ill-mannered and angry. Alternately, a person who is usually grumpy may become very pleasant and welcoming. The individual’s moods may also quickly alternate. For instance, he or she may change from being really upset one minute and quite jovial the next.

Unfortunately, the symptoms of Alzheimer's tend to get drastically worse over time. To date, there is no distinctive cure for Alzheimer's, but there are medicines doctors may prescribe to curve Alzheimer's symptoms. Additionally, there are many types of Alzheimer's support groups from which a patient of Alzheimer's as well as an Alzheimer's caregiver may get assistance.



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