Signs of Normal Change vs. Early Alzheimer's Symptoms

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.