It could be an early warning of Alzheimer’s if you have difficulty identifying common smells… This is the surprising discovery of a recent study from McGill University in Montreal. Researchers looked at whether a smell test could detect a person’s Alzheimer’s risk.
The study included 300 participants with a family history of dementia. All of them were given sniff patches of common scents such as lemon, bubble gum, and gasoline. They also had spinal fluid tests for traces of Alzheimer’s.
The result was that people who had difficulty identifying the common smells had the most biological symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The study was published in the journal Neurology and other health pages.
Researchers hope to progress into making a scent test that can serve as an early clinical diagnosis. But until the test is available, how can you tell the difference between Alzheimer’s and normal memory lapses? Here are 10 early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
#1 – Memory Loss that Disrupts Daily Life
Memory loss includes asking for the same piece of information over and over, or a sudden need to rely on memory aids such as reminder notes. Memory issues can be an early sign of dementia.
I most cases, alterations are often acute and mainly associate with short-term memory. For instance, an older individual might remember events that happened place years ago clearly but completely forget what they ate in the morning.
Other signs of short-term memory alterations include struggling to remember why they went into a specific room, where they left things or what they were supposed to do in general.
It’s not Alzheimer’s when you forget appointments or names but remember them later.
#2 – A New Inability to Solve Problems
Individuals experiencing early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease may have issues following a recipe that they know well, especially if it contains numbers. Or they may suddenly be unable to keep track of their monthly bills or manage payments or anything that has numbers on it.
It’s not Alzheimer’s when you make occasional errors while balancing a checkbook.
#3 – Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks
This sign includes having problems remembering the rules of a favorite game or driving to a familiar location. A severe change in the ability to complete common tasks may indicate that a person has early dementia.
This usually begins with difficulty doing more complicated tasks such as balancing a checkbook or playing games that come with plenty of rules. Besides finding it hard to complete normal tasks, people with Alzheimer’s might have difficulty learning new things or following new routines.
It’s not Alzheimer’s when you occasionally need help to use electronics.
#4 – Confusion with Time or Place
The early stages of dementia may often include confusion. When the judgment, thinking, or memory is damaged, confusion may increase as they can no longer interact with people normally, find the right words, or remember faces.
Confusion can also arise for many reasons and apply to various situations. For instance, they may also forget what comes next in the day, misplace their car keys, lose track of seasons, dates, and the passage of time.
Alzheimer’s patients may find it difficult to understand something if it’s not happening in the current moment. Sometimes, they may even forget where they are or how they got there.
It’s not Alzheimer’s when you get confused about which month is it or which day of the week, but you get to figure it out later.
#5 – Trouble Understanding Visual Images
Individuals with Alzheimer’s may experience judging distance, difficulty reading, or even determining color. This may particularly cause problems when driving.
It’s not Alzheimer’s when your vision problems are associated with aging.
#6 – New Problems with Spoken Words or Writing
Warning signs of Alzheimer’s also include having trouble following a conversation. People with this disease may stop in the middle of a sentence in confusion or they may repeat themselves over and over again.
Also, they may experience difficulty following storylines which might occur due to early dementia. This is actually a classic early sign. Just as using and finding the right words becomes difficult, individuals with dementia sometimes forget the meanings of words they hear or struggle to follow along with TV programs.
It’s not Alzheimer’s when you sometimes have trouble finding the right word.
#7 – Misplacing Things
People with Alzheimer’s may put things in unusual places, for example, placing the car keys in the refrigerator. They may lose something and be completely unable to go back over their steps to find it. Sometimes, they may even accuse other people of stealing.
It’s not Alzheimer’s when you sometimes misplace stuff and retrace your steps to find them.
#8 – Sudden Poor Judgment or Lack of Hygiene
Alzheimer’s patients may use poor judgment when dealing with money, such as making larger payments that would be totally unreasonable their normal self. Moreover, they may begin to pay lesser attention to grooming and personal hygiene.
It’s not Alzheimer’s when you make a bad or unreasonable decision once in a while.
#9 – Withdrawal
A person with Alzheimer’s may begin to quit work projects, sports, social activities, or hobbies. Listlessness and interest loss commonly occur in early dementia. Individuals with early signs may not want to do anything fun or go out anymore. Also, they may lose interest in spending time with family and friends as well as they might seem emotionally numb.
It’s not Alzheimer’s when you sometimes feel weary of family, work, or/and social obligations.
#10 – Personality Changes
An easy-going individual may suddenly become anxious, fearful, depressed, or suspicious. They may be easily irritated and struggle to adapt to change, which is a typical symptom of early dementia.
The early stages of dementia are a harsh experience that can cause so much fear because, suddenly, the person can’t remember people they know or follow what they’re hearing.
They can’t remember why they went somewhere and they get lost on the way home. This would mainly make them crave routine and be afraid to try anything new.
It’s not Alzheimer’s when you become irritable because a routine is disrupted.
If you notice many of these signs and they seem to be worsening, don’t ignore them and consult a doctor immediately.
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