Signs you have Alzheimer’s, according to brain experts – eat this, not that

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and affects up to 5.8 million US adults. “One in three cases of Alzheimer’s could be preventable if that person does everything right,” says dr Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell & New York-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. “20 to 30 years is enough time to make brain-healthy decisions.” Here are five signs you have Alzheimer’s, according to experts. Read on – and don’t miss these to protect your health and the health of others Sure signs you already had COVID.

Elderly woman conducting an interview
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Confusion is one of the earliest and most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. “If your memory or thinking is declining, affecting your ability to carry out your daily routines, ask your doctor about screening to check for Alzheimer’s and related disorders.” says dr Gad Marshall, an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.

Elderly couple quarreling.
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Personality changes could be a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. “When people develop Alzheimer’s disease, their personality traits are often exaggerated. So if they’re a really nice person and have been quite sociable for most of their life, that carries over as the disease progresses.” says neurologist Dr. Ronald Petersen. “Sometimes it happens that people do a 180. That is, the nice little old grandmother develops the disease throughout her life and then later in life starts talking like a sailor, with words that she has her whole life hasn’t used it in a long time.”

Senior couple sitting together on the sofa and looking at opposite sides.
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Speech problems – also known as aphasia – are a common sign of Alzheimer’s. “Aphasia is a broad term that refers to a problem with language,” says neurologist Dr. Hugo Botha. “For example, patients with aphasia may have difficulty understanding what others are saying, what they are reading, or having difficulty putting their thoughts into words. It’s not a disease in the sense that something like diabetes is a disease. There are many different diseases that can cause aphasia – for example stroke or head injury or progressive brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.

Surprised senior mature woman counting bills at home.
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Forgetting to pay bills or making bad financial decisions could be a sign of Alzheimer’s. “We heard a lot of anecdotes about patients who didn’t even know they had dementia when some of these negative financial events happened.” says Lauren Hersch Nikolaus from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Then the whole family could find out if they lost a home or business or suddenly a new scammer added to other accounts and took their savings.”


Comfort for elderly husband suffering from dementia
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People with a family history of Alzheimer’s could be at increased risk of developing the disease. “There’s a really inherited form of the disease called familial Alzheimer’s disease, early onset Alzheimer’s disease.” says dr Petersen, explaining that people with the genetic form of Alzheimer’s have a 50/50 chance of getting it. “The vast majority of the disease is described as sporadic, but even in sporadic cases there can be a familial tendency.”

Ferozan Mast

Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for bringing science and research-backed information to a wide audience. Continue reading

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