Early Detection Matters: 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s

doctor looks at brain scans

by BriAnn Hill for NCOA

There’s no one test that can be used to definitively diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. Instead, doctors use a combination of medical history, neurological exams, brain imaging, and other diagnostic tools to make a diagnosis with as much accuracy as possible.

The approval of new therapies makes early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s even more critical, since it helps to ensure people receive the most benefit at the earliest point possible. Early diagnosis has demonstrated better health outcomes for patients and their caregivers.

It may be hard to know the difference between age-related changes and the first signs of dementia, but memory loss that disrupts daily life is not a typical part of aging. Your memory often changes as you grow older. Some people recognize concerning changes in themselves before anyone else notices. In other cases, friends and family are the first to observe changes in memory, behavior, or abilities.

What are some early symptoms of Alzheimer’s? The Alzheimer’s Association has created a list of warning signs and contrasted them with typical age-related changes.

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or leisure

4. Confusion with time or place

5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

6. New problems with words in speaking or writing

7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

8. Decreased or poor judgment

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities

10. Changes in mood and personality

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