If you're concerned about the condition of an older family member or loved one, you are likely asking yourself: "I know there's something wrong. Could it be Alzheimer's?"
You aren't alone. Many folks share these "silent" fears and concerns about loved ones who show signs of memory lapses or have difficulty performing routine tasks. They fear Alzheimer's Disease -- a terrible, progressive brain disorder that slowly strips away one's mental and physical capabilities.
A new manual, "How to Tell if Someone You Love May Have Alzheimer's", details exactly what early symptoms and warning signs to look for, and provides simple home tests that can indicate potential Alzheimer's problems. The manual is available online, free of charge, at www.alztest.com.
Is there really a way to "predict" who will get Alzheimer's?
In most cases, early warning signs (also known as "markers") give clear indication that problems are brewing that may indicate Alzheimer's. Often, these warning signs can be seen years before clinical symptoms appear. These include:
1) Loss of the sense of smell: A loss of ability to distinguish or recognize odors can take place up to two years before memory loss is noticed. This loss is due to damage to nerves in the olfactory area of the brain, which controls the sense of smell.
2) Visual / Spatial Impairment: Because of insufficient blood supply and nerve damage to the occipital area of the brain, another early marker is difficulty comprehending visual information. This shows up in an inability to follow and recall visual directions, or in copying or drawing.
3) Loss of hearing: A study at the University of South Florida revealed that 49 out of 52 patients had a significant hearing loss. Most individuals affected by this are unaware of their hearing loss.
4) Abnormal Fingerprint Patterns: One unusual type of fingerprint pattern is found in over 75% of all Alzheimer's patients, suggesting that there is a genetic predisposition for developing this disease or other dementia.
5) Depression: Approximately 50% of all Alzheimer's patients suffer from abnormal bouts of depression, well before other personality changes are noticeable.