Normal Ageing vs. Alzheimer's Disease
As we age, we all begin to occasionally forget things – that's normal, and it's expected. But the changes that occur in Alzheimer's disease go far beyond mild forgetfulness.
It's important for you to know that many commonly used prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as naturopathic and alternative therapies, can cause side effects that may affect one's mental abilities. So be sure to discuss medication use with a doctor if you feel that you are seeing abnormal signs. Two other conditions that can mimic dementia-like symptoms are delirium, which can be caused by a number of factors, and depression. Your doctor will be able to distinguish between delirium, depression and dementia.
For a quick overview of how the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease differ from normal ageing, take a look at this table:
|Normal ageing||Early signs of Alzheimer's Disease|
|Forgetting the names of people you rarely see||Forgetting the names of people close to you|
|Briefly forgetting part of an experience||Forgetting a recent experience|
|Not putting things away properly||Putting things away in strange places|
|Mood changes because of an appropriate cause||Having unpredictable mood changes|
|Changes in your interests||Decreased interest in activities|
If you're seeing any of the above signs in someone close to you, it's a good idea to start keeping track of these signs in the Symptom Diary. You'll be one step closer to getting a diagnosis and if it is Alzheimer's disease, you'll be better equipped for a discussion with a doctor.