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Here are 5 symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease most people don't know about

[Sept. 8, 2023: Staff Writer, The Brighter Side of News]


At 96, Bennett was still making occasional appearances to perform, leaving many fans astounded to discover his battle with the brain ailment. (CREDIT: AP Photo/Cliff Owen)


Recently, the loss of iconic jazz and pop singer Tony Bennett, who succumbed to a protracted seven-year fight with Alzheimer’s disease, sent a wave of sorrow across the globe. At 96, Bennett was still making occasional appearances to perform, leaving many fans astounded to discover his battle with the brain ailment.


But as we delve deeper into this neurological disorder, we realize that the manifestations of Alzheimer’s extend beyond mere memory glitches. It possesses a myriad of symptoms that can remain camouflaged in plain sight.


 
 

Dr. Kristin Gill, MD, a renowned board-certified psychiatrist and the Chief Medical Officer at Minded, believes, “Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that progressively deteriorates memory, learning, cognition, and organizational skills.” Notably, the malady predominantly assails individuals aged 65 and above, claiming responsibility for an estimated 60 to 80% of dementia cases.


In light of the recent heart-wrenching news, we have collaborated with leading brain health experts, including Dr. Gill, to shed light on some lesser-known symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.


 

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1. Sleep Pattern Alterations


Insomnia and sleep-related disturbances are not unfamiliar to many. But did you know that these might hint at a lurking onset of Alzheimer’s? “Changes in sleep patterns are a frequent occurrence among Alzheimer's patients,” notes Dr. Gill.


These perturbations could encompass troubles in initiating sleep, recurrent nighttime arousals, and overwhelming daytime lethargy. Such fluctuations not only diminish the patient's quality of life but also inflict strains on families, partners, and caregivers. If you or a loved one grapples with these sleep anomalies, a timely consultation with a healthcare professional or sleep specialist can illuminate the underlying issue—be it Alzheimer’s, sleep apnea, or another condition.


 
 

2. A Gradual Social Retreat


Though social withdrawal is typically attributed to anxiety and depression, it could also be an under-recognized harbinger of Alzheimer’s. Dr. Gill emphasizes the gravity of the situation, stating, “A waning enthusiasm for social endeavors or a stark reduction in activities once cherished can serve as pivotal indicators of Alzheimer’s onset, thereby catalyzing prompt diagnosis and intervention.”


Though social withdrawal is typically attributed to anxiety and depression, it could also be an under-recognized harbinger of Alzheimer’s. (CREDIT: Milamai/Getty Images)


A tangible example: A passionate weekly bingo player suddenly loses interest, a transformation that warrants attentive observation.


 
 

3. Word Confusion in Daily Discourse


Stumbling on a challenging word in a crossword is one thing, but consistently struggling with everyday vocabulary is a different story altogether. “These aren't intricate or arcane words but ones we use in our daily lexicon,” elaborates Dr. RJ Tesi, MD, the CEO and CMO of INmune Bio. As an example, he illustrates the unexpected omission of the word 'walk' in the sentence, 'I am going to _____ the dog.'


Senior woman talking on phone and and writing in her home. (CREDIT: Dobrila Vignjevic/Getty Images)


4. Executive Functioning Impairments


Encompassing tasks like adhering to a structured plan, staying concentrated, and accurately following directives, executive functioning is a complex cognitive ability. Dr. Tesi likens it to a sophisticated "three-dimensional chess game that amalgamates risks, benefits, impacts on others, and precise timing.” Alarmingly, this intricate task is frequently the first to deteriorate in Alzheimer's patients.


 
 

5. Poor judgment


Delving further into this facet, Dr. Anjali Patel, DO, a skilled cognitive neurologist from the Atlantic Neuroscience Institute at Overlook Medical Center, differentiates between usual age-associated errors and those emblematic of Alzheimer’s.


Lapses might be graver, like divulging personal data to unknown entities or consistently mismanaging finances. (CREDIT: Creative Commons)


For the latter, the lapses might be graver, like divulging personal data to unknown entities or consistently mismanaging finances. Dr. Gill supplements this by highlighting the potential ramifications on personal safety and hygiene for some patients, underscoring the gravity of impaired judgment.


 
 

In the aftermath of Bennett’s passing, it becomes imperative to unmask and understand the nuanced symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. While the singer's battle might have been silent, our commitment to awareness and education should be anything but. Let's forge ahead, armed with knowledge and compassion, to ensure that others don't suffer in silence.







For more science news stories check out our New Discoveries section at The Brighter Side of News.


 

Note: Materials provided above by The Brighter Side of News. Content may be edited for style and length.


 
 

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