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I'm a Doctor and Here's the #1 Sign You Have Alzheimer's

Four signs of Alzheimer's not to ignore.

In 2020, 5.8 million Americans were living with Alzheimer's, "a progressive disease beginning with mild memory loss and possibly leading to loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment. Alzheimer's disease involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, states. While scientists are still baffled by the disease and continue to learn about it, there are clear signs that indicate someone has Alzheimer's to watch out for. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who explain what the signs are and who is at risk for Alzheimer's. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs COVID is Hurting You—Even After a Negative Test.


Memory Loss

Moody aged man feeling unhappy.

Dr. Jonathan Fellows, D.O., Michigan Institute for Neurological Disorders explains, "Memory loss is one of the main features of Alzheimer's disease. The memory loss is typically forgetting recent memories as opposed to long lasting or remote memories. Some patients will ask questions repeatedly and not register the answer given by others. Some patients will forget names of people, dates of events, or how to complete a task."

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Difficulty with Tasks and Planning

or woman with papers or bills and calculator writing at home

Percy Griffin, Ph.D., Director of Scientific Engagement at the Alzheimer's Association says: "People with Alzheimer's often find it hard to complete daily tasks. They may have trouble driving to a familiar location or writing a grocery list. They may have difficulty following a recipe, doing simple math, or keeping track of monthly bills. They may take much longer to do things than they did before."

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Confusion and Disorientation

Mature woman on bench in autumn park.

Griffin states, "People living with Alzheimer's can lose track of dates and the passage of time. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there. Some people develop vision problems and have trouble reading. They often have issues with driving because of problems with judging distance and discerning colors."

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Difficulty with Social Interactions

senior woman with adult daughter at home.

According to Griffin, "People living with Alzheimer's may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue, or they may repeat themselves. They may have trouble finding the right words for familiar people and objects. As a result, they may withdraw from hobbies and social activities."

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Who is at Risk for Alzheimer's?

Distraught senior man sitting at hospital waiting room while female doctor is holding his hand and comforting him

Dr. Fellows explains, "The single greatest risk for the development of Alzheimer disease is age. The majority of individuals who are diagnosed with Alzheimer's are over the age of 65. The risk of developing Alzheimer's increases exponentially as one ages. There are genetic factors that contribute to the development of Alzheimer's, but not every individual that possesses a specific genetic mutation will go on to develop dementia, so these tests must be ordered and interpreted with caution. There is a greater risk for the development of Alzheimer's in the African-American and Latino population. Closed head injuries and concussions have been shown to increase the risk of Alzheimer's."

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Difference Between Normal Aging and Alzheimer's

Senior man buttoning his shirt.

"It is common to develop mild memory problems as we age," says Dr. Fellows. The problems can be seen as forgetfulness but in general do not interfere with an individuals quality of life or impact their activities of daily living.  On the contrary, one of the hallmark features of Alzheimer's is difficulty completing or performing tasks previously able to do. It is best to follow up with your physician if you are experiencing memory loss and an appropriate evaluation can take place." And to live your healthiest life, don't miss this life-saving advice I'm a Doctor and Here's the #1 Sign You Have Cancer

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather