This Wednesday, September 21, is World Day against Alzheimer’s disease, the leading cause of dementia and heavy dependence in the elderly. Even if, for the time being, there is no curative treatment to cure this neurodegenerative condition, it is possible to slow down its development. This is why it is essential to detect the first symptoms quickly.
There are several warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease that can alert the patient and those around him. Among them, memory problems. Not remembering an appointment, a place where you put an object, or a phone number, it can happen to everyone. But when these oversights relate to recent events, repeat themselves, and affect everyday life, it may not be so trivial.
Impairment of executive functions
Patients also report difficulty in performing tasks requiring attention and concentration, such as following a recipe, taking care of administrative procedures, organizing a trip or a meal, underlines the Alzheimer Research Foundation. They take much longer than before to do certain things, and are more easily distracted.
From the early stages of the disease, which affects nearly 900,000 people in France, the patient may also have difficulty expressing himself. He tends to search for his words and compensate for this difficulty by using “suitcase words”, such as “thing”, “thing”, or “thing”, but also to substitute one word for another, thus making his remarks incomprehensible.
Another warning sign: apraxia, a disorder that results in the inability to perform intentional and acquired movements. People with this condition can no longer perform certain actions requiring a certain coordination and dexterity, such as writing, household chores, or the use of household appliances.
emotional and affective disorders
Mood swings can also occur. It is possible that the subject is particularly impatient, irritable, anxious, gets angry, or utters insults, and this, for no apparent reason. On the contrary, he may suddenly appear overly jovial, giggling and having a childish sense of humor.
Indifference (he no longer cares about the lives of his loved ones, for example), and loss of motivation (he sits for hours without doing anything), are also signs that should not be overlooked.