Question: What are other symptoms besides memory loss occur when someone has Alzheimer’s disease? –Bart, New Haven, Connecticut

Answer: Mild forgetfulness and memory delays often occur as part of the normal aging process. With normal aging of the brain, older individuals simply need more time to learn a new fact or to remember an old one. Persons afflicted with Alzheimer's disease (AD) will, however, find these symptoms progressing in frequency and severity. Everyone, from time to time, will forget where they placed their car keys; an individual with AD, however, may not remember what the keys are for. In general, if memory loss increases in frequency or severity, begins to worry (makes an impression on) friends and family, or begins to interfere with daily activities (employment tasks, social interactions, and family chores, for example), it is advisable to seek out qualified professional advice. A geriatric specialist or neurologist may help in this diagnosis. It is advisable to fine practitioners with extensive knowledge, experience, and interest in dementia and memory problems.

There are many other behaviors associated with varying stages of Alzheimer's disease. In most cases, the disease tends to be progressive. It can cause unusual and unpredictable behaviors that can be challenging to caregivers. As the illness progresses, commonly encountered symptoms and problems include:

  • Inability to carry out usual tasks
  • Poor judgment
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Personality changes
  • Aggression, agitation, and combativeness
  • Hallucinations
  • Incontinence
  • Wandering or pacing
  • Poor eating habits
  • Sexually inappropriate behavior
  • Communication disturbances or loss

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About Dr. Mindy

Dr. Mindy Kim-Miller is a trained medical physician who provides useful, but general answers to questions provided by online visitors. While Dr. Mindy can not provide specific medical advice or services, we hope you find her responses useful in your personal education. All information is provided for informational and educational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you suspect you have an illness or disease, or a health related condition of any kind, seek professional medical care with an appropriate health care professional immediately. Do not postpone or delay seeking treatment or disregard professional advice based upon the general answers provided by Dr. Mindy. Dr. Mindy's advice is not intended to substitute for a visit to your personal physician or other qualified health provider. Any specific medical concerns or questions you may have should be directed to your personal physician or other qualified health provider.

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