Normal change: Can't find your keys
Early Alzheimer's disease: Routinely place important items in odd places, such as keys in the fridge, wallet in the dishwasher
Normal change: Search for casual names and words
Early Alzheimer's disease: Forget names of family members and common objects, or substitute words with inappropriate ones
Normal change: Briefly forget conversation details
Early Alzheimer's disease: Frequently forget entire conversations
Normal change: Feel the cold more
Early Alzheimer's disease: Dress regardless of the weather, wear several skirts on a warm day, or shorts in a snow storm
Normal change: Can't find a recipe
Early Alzheimer's disease: Can't follow recipe directions
Normal change: Forget to record a check
Early Alzheimer's disease: Can no longer manage checkbook, balance figures, solve problems, or think abstractly
Normal change: Cancel a date with friends
Early Alzheimer's disease: Withdraw from usual interests and activities, sit in front of the TV for hours, sleep far more than usual
Normal change: Make an occasional wrong turn
Early Alzheimer's disease: Get lost in familiar places, don't remember how you got there or how to get home
Normal change: Feel occasionally sad
Early Alzheimer's disease: Experience rapid mood swings, from tears to rage, for no discernible reason
What else can cause Alzheimer's symptoms?
While significant cognitive and memory loss are NOT symptoms of normal aging, these symptoms do not always indicate Alzheimer's disease. Other conditions can mimic early Alzheimer's symptoms, such as:
Central nervous system and other degenerative disorders, including head injuries, brain tumors, stroke, epilepsy, Pick's Disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease.
Metabolic ailments, such as hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, dehydration, kidney or liver failure.
Substance-induced conditions, such as drug interactions, medication side-effects, alcohol and drug abuse.
Psychological factors, such as dementia syndrome, depression, emotional trauma, chronic stress, psychosis, chronic sleep deprivation, delirium.
Infections, such as meningitis, encephalitis, and syphilis.