Nutrition Health Review

FALL 2017

Nutrition Health Review provides consumers updates on the latest medical research, news, trends, and products in nutrition and healthy living.

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9 Fall 2017 • Volume 117 Recognizing the Diference Between Alzheimer's and Normal Age-related Changes M any people find that their memory just isn't what it used to be as they age, but it's perfectly natural. However, while age-related memory loss is a common occurrence, it's important to understand the early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. First, evaluate your memory loss. A sign of Alzheimer's disease is memory loss that repeatedly impedes on daily life. Having to ask for the same informaƟon repeatedly, forgeƫng important dates and events, or finding that you frequently forget pieces of newly learned informaƟon all suggest possible Alzheimer's. However, occasionally forgeƫng names or appointments, but remembering them later is a normal age-related change in memory. Another possible symptom of Alzheimer's is increased challenge in planning, solving problems, and/or working with numbers. Examples of this includes newfound difficulty following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. There is likely no need for worry about making a mistake every now and then while balancing a checkbook. Another symptom to be aware of is difficulty compleƟng daily tasks, such as driving to a familiar locaƟon or remembering the rules of a favorite game. A typical age-related change, such as needing help troubleshooƟng a computer or recording a television show, is no cause for concern. In addiƟon, take note of confusion regarding Ɵme or place; people with Alzheimer's frequently lose track of dates, seasons, and the passage of Ɵme, or they might forget where they are or how they got there. SomeƟmes, however, the average person forgets what day of the week it is. Especially if it's been a parƟcularly busy week. Don't mind that—it happens to the best of us occasionally. People with Alzheimer's also have trouble with spaƟal relaƟonships, meaning they can have difficulty reading, judging distance, and determining color contrast. However, this could also be aƩributed to age-related changes in the eyes, such as cataracts. Another symptom includes problems with speech, vocabulary, or wriƟng. Trouble following a conversaƟon, repeaƟng oneself, stopping mid-sentence without any idea of how to conƟnue, or calling things by the wrong name all suggest it might be Ɵme to visit a doctor. An age-related change, however, would be difficulty finding the right word, but eventually finding it with some extra Ɵme. Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them is another common symptom of Alzheimer's. However, someone who misplaces something but is able to go back over their steps to eventually find the item shouldn't be parƟcularly worried. Further, an uncharacterisƟc withdrawal from social acƟviƟes or once-enjoyed hobbies, along with changes in mood and personality, both signal possible Alzheimer's disease. People with Alzheimer's can someƟmes lose interest in hobbies if they can't remember how to complete them, or find they can't follow a favorite television show or sports game. In addiƟon, they can become confused, anxious, suspicious, or depressed in any place where they are out of their comfort zone. If you, a friend, or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms, it's encouraged you schedule an appointment with a doctor. Even if it isn't Alzheimer's, it's important to be proacƟve about your health or the health of your loved one by addressing any concerns. Source: 2017. Alzheimer's AssociaƟon website. hƩps:// signs-symptoms-alzheimers-demenƟa.asp. Accessed December 12, 2017.

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