By: Larry Studt, M.D., Occupational Health & Medicine Program, Sacred Heart and St. Joseph Hospitals
Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is an example. Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia and accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases.
Some early warning signs of Alzheimer's could include things like:
* Forgetting names or appointments but remembering them later.
* Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.
* Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.
* Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.
* Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
* Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.
Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer's, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment.
Although current Alzheimer's treatments cannot stop Alzheimer's from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer's and their caregivers.
Many people have memory loss issues — this does not mean they have Alzheimer's or another dementia. If you or a loved one is experiencing troubling symptoms, visit a doctor to learn the reason.
Watch the “Ask the Doc” video for more information!
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