Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s (Cause?)

gum disease and alzheimer's

Many professionals conducted studies on the possible connection between gum disease and Alzheimer’s. Is there a link? YES and no.

Experts continue to discover startling results regarding the causes of Alzheimer’s as they persistently conduct multiple studies.

One study concluded that gum diseases might increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers who conducted the study found that there is a link between the bacteria that cause gum disease and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Does Gum Disease Cause Alzheimer’s?

This discovery might also open up more treatment ways for progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Some doctors and researchers, on the other hand, are not too sure about this discovery.

Let’s try and decipher whether it is possible to link Alzheimer’s to gum disease.

How the Conclusion Came To Be

causes of gum disease and Alzheimer's
Researchers who support the notion that gum diseases can lead to Alzheimer’s studied the brain tissue of people who had died with Alzheimer’s.

Most of the researchers in this study were part of a private biotech firm that goes by the name Cortexyme.

Others were working in various Universities in America like the University of California and Harvard University School of Dental Medicine.

Some employees at the Jagiellonian University in Poland, the University of Melbourne and the University of Auckland were also part of the study.

Researches on gum disease and Alzheimer’s

The researchers published their study in the Science Advances Journal.

The experts claimed to have found Porphyromonas gingivalis in the tissues. This is a bacteria that triggers gingivitis (gum disease).

This is one of the primary pathogens that make people suffer from gum disease.

Additionally, they also observed that the spinal fluid from people living with Alzheimer’s contained the bacterium’s DNA.

To further support their results, the team also detected that the brain samples of many people with Alzheimer’s had the presence of toxic enzymes that the bacterium produces.

The brain samples that recorded higher amounts of gingipains also had high amounts of ubiquitin and tau proteins that, for a long time, have been linked to Alzheimer’s.

Some experiments involved mice

The tests did not stop with human beings. The professionals also worked on several experiments with mice.

The results suggested that there is a connection between Alzheimer’s and the bacterium that causes gum diseases.

Infections and Alzheimer’s Disease

The researchers in a bid to find more conclusive results infected the gums of healthy mice with P. gingivalis.

They later observed that this bacteria was present in the brains of the mice. Other than this, there was also damage to the neurons of the animals and higher levels of beta-amyloid (a protein) in the brain tissue of the mice.

Previous studies confirmed that when beta-amyloid proteins clump together, they form what is known as plaques in the brains of people who have Alzheimer’s disease.

After this move showing a positive connection between gum diseases and Alzheimer’s, the researchers were also able to get rid of the infection caused by P. gingivalis in the brains of the mice. This was through the use of a molecule that blocks and binds to the gingipains.

As a result of clearing the infection, there was also a reduction in neural damage and the production of beta-amyloid.

The researchers explain that this was possible because the bacteria feeds on enzymes to produce energy and gather nutrients.

Naturally, because their work had positive results on mice, the researchers were positive that this was a treatment option for people who are living with Alzheimer’s.

What Was The Research All About?

research on gum disease and Alzheimer's
As seen above, the study was a combination of laboratory experiments on the brains of mice and those of humans.

The researchers observed post-mortem brain tissue samples from about one hundred people with and without Alzheimer’s.

They wanted to know if the brains of the people with the illness had more gingipains.

Cerebrospinal fluid and saliva that surrounds the brain and spinal cord were also put under test to confirm if there was the presence of P. gingivalsis DNA.

The experts also worked with cultured cells grown in a lab. These were infected with P. gingivalis to observe the effect it had on proteins that are usually present in the brains of people who have the illness.

Regarding the experiments on mice, the experts sought to know if infecting mice with P. gingivalis would make bacterial show up in the brain of the mice.

The mice also got a substance that inhibits gingipains to see if it would effectively treat gingipain infection.

The experts also wanted to know how this treatment compares to other antibiotics that people with gingivitis use. The researchers in this study found that more than 90% of the brain tissue from individuals with Alzheimer’s had gingipains.

The concentration was higher in persons with Alzheimer’s. P. gingivalis DNA was also present in a majority of the cerebrospinal fluid samples and all saliva samples.

All the mice also showcased signs of brain infection after a month and two weeks. After this, the researchers state that the findings of their study provide evidence that gingipains and P. gingivalis play a significant role in the development of Alzheimer’s.

Previous Evidence

previous evidence
In the past, there have also been other studies that link gum diseases and Alzheimer’s.

One of them is a Taiwanese Study that uncovered the fact that people with a decade or longer history of CP (chronic periodontitis) were more likely than individuals without the condition to develop Alzheimer’s by a whopping70%.

Another study also indicated that person’s with moderate to mild Alzheimer’s with gum disease experience faster cognitive decline rates when you compare them to the other ill people without dental issues.

How Does the Bacteria Travel to the Brain

how does the bacteria travel to the brain
When looking at the possible link between gum diseases and Alzheimer’s, it is also important to touch on how the bacteria makes its way to the brain.

P. gingivalis is responsible for causing gum diseases like periodontitis. This is a bacteria that is quite common, seeing that one person in a group of five people under thirty usually has some level of the bacterium in their gums.

When this grows uncontrollably, it can trigger an immune response that can lead to inflammation increase. This is usually a key factor that is associated with Alzheimer’s. Experts reveal that it is very easy for P. gingivalis to travel to the brain from the mouth using the mouse model.

To show evidence of this, researches infected healthy mice with the bacterium and later found it in the brain. The experts concluded that bacterial from gum diseases might access the brain by spreading through cranial nerves via the jaw and head or through the infection of immune system cells.

Reasons some Doctors Refute the Results of the Study

reasons some doctors refute the results of the study
Even though some experts agree with the fact that there is a connection between gum diseases and Alzheimer’s, others claim that there is no way this is possible.

Dr. Rawan Tarawneh an assistant professor and cognitive neurologist is one of the professionals who does not believe that it is possible to link Alzheimer’s to gum diseases. He claims that the research has numerous limitations.

For one, he says that the research does not showcase strong evidence to support the cause and effect relationship between Alzheimer’s and P. gingivalis. He also points out that the researchers should take time to search for amyloid deposits in people’s brains and not just in mice.

A Ph.D. professor of neurology Rudolph Tanzi also supports this, saying that the study is still so small; thus, there is no need for overhyping the results.

He said that there was still a need for other researchers to take up the study in a bid to provide more conclusive results that the industry can use without any doubts.

Worth noting nonetheless is that the study is still very young and as time progresses and researchers can offer more evidence, some professionals may end up changing their stand on this topic.

Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s- The Way Forward

the way forward
Despite some professionals saying that there may be no link between gum diseases and Alzheimer’s, participants of the study are starting clinical trials that will test a drug that is similar to the one they used on mice.

The experiments may give scientists and other professionals better insight on the role that P. gingicalis plays in Alzheimer’s development.

The drug, however, still has a long way before the FDA approves it.

Closing Remarks

While a section of experts can prove that there is a link between gum diseases and Alzheimer’s, ultimately, it may not be right to state that a single infectious agent or toxin is responsible for causing Alzheimer’s disease in everyone who has the illness.

This is because numerous factors may be involved in the development of the disease that takes about 15-20 years to run its course.

These may include genetic predispositions like APOE4, gender, and age, amongst others.

Regarding dental hygiene, extensive research still needs to be done to determine its true relationship to Alzheimer’s. This said, it is vital to take care of your dental health every day. Brush your teeth, floss, and visit a dentist regularly.

This way, you may escape being at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s because of neglecting dental hygiene.

If you happen to have any gum diseases, treat them right away.

Experts also link these to other health problems, including heart diseases, diabetes, and stroke.

Middle Stage Alzheimer’s Disease – What to Expect

middle stage alzheimer's disease

In this article, we cover all the possible symptoms, challenges and what to do during the middle stage of Alzheimer’s disease.

This comprehensive “guide” will help you as a caregiver or someone who is concerned about their situation.

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder, one of the most common dementia types. It causes numerous changes in the lives of persons who have the illness.

This includes confusion, memory loss, gradual loss of independence, and changes in personality among many others.

The disease progresses through four main stages.

4 Alzheimer’s Disease Stages

Pre-clinical stage

pre-clinical stage
This is where a person experiences changes in the brain before any symptoms of the disease start showing up.

Early/mild stage

early-mild stage
It is the onset of the disease that makes a person mildly experience various symptoms. Examples of such include mild forgetfulness and problems managing money, etc.

Middle/moderate stage

At this stage, the symptoms of the illness become more pronounced where persons with the disease start to face new challenges like difficulties learning new information and problems with communication amidst others.

Late/severe stage

late-severe stage
This is the last leg of the disease where an individual becomes less independent as they have to tackle worsening symptoms before their demise.

Each of these stages of Alzheimer’s is unique in terms of the level of independence a person has and the symptoms they go through.

Today we will focus on middle stage Alzheimer’s disease. This is typically the longest stage of the illness.

Below we will let you in on what to expect during this phase.

Signs of Middle Stage Alzheimer’s disease

signs of middle stage alzheimer's disease
Some of the symptoms that you may experience during the middle stage of the illness include:

Communication Problems

communication problems
Persons with Alzheimer’s gradually lose their ability to express thoughts, find the right words, and keep conversations going.

As time passes by, a considerable percentage will also have a problem understanding what other people are saying.

Communication problems that may crop up during the middle stage include repetitiveness, trouble finding the proper words, reverting to native language, losing train of thought, and relying on non-verbal communication.

Behavioral Changes

behavioral changes
Individuals with Alzheimer’s may experience various changes in behaviors. These may include anxiety, depression, irritability, verbal, and physical outbursts.

Loss Of Independence

loss of independence
Most people with Alzheimer’s will start to have difficulties completing daily tasks.

They may need assistance with activities like grooming, eating, choosing the clothes to wear, taking a bath, brushing teeth, and so forth.

Memory Loss

memory loss
More significant loss of memory is one of the hallmarks of mid-stage Alzheimer’s. Persons at this stage may have a hard time recalling information.

These include personal details like phone numbers, where they live, or important dates like anniversaries and birthdays.

Some people have challenges identifying people who are close to them. They may recognize familiar faces but have no clue what their names are or the relationship they share.

Other symptoms that people experience at his stage include worsening judgment and poorer concentration levels.

People with Alzheimer’s at this point may not be able to tell the time or place they are in.

Knowing the changes to expect is important for the person with the disease and the caregivers as well.

The person suffering will not be too overwhelmed with the changes happening because they already anticipate them.

Caregivers can also come up with the most suitable solutions to deal with these signs so that the person under their care remains as comfortable as possible.

With this in mind, it is also vital to emphasize that Alzheimer’s disease is an individual experience, which means that the warning signs and progression rate can vary widely across individuals.

Safety Concerns During Alzheimer’s Disease Middle Stage

safety concerns during alzheimer's disease middle stage
The signs above may lead to the development of a couple of safety concerns for persons who are going through Alzheimer’s middle stage.

One of the main ones has got to be driving.

Because of changes that are happening in a person’s body, it is advisable for people who have Alzheimer’s to stop driving when they get to the middle stages because it is no longer safe.

Persons with the illness may find it hard at first, but the people around them must reassure them it is the right move.

Additionally, friends and relatives should make sure the affected individuals always get rides when need be.

It also becomes dangerous to leave a person who has Alzheimer’s alone during the middle stages. They are bound to wander and get lost or hurt.

Safety precautions also need to be prioritized, especially if the person is still living at home to avoid accidents and enhance safety.

If the person with Alzheimer’s lives alone, it would be a great idea for them to move in with relatives who are willing to offer round the clock care.

If this is not possible, a residential care setting is an excellent alternative.

These are usually built for seniors who have Alzheimer’s; thus, take care of resident’s needs in the proper way.

Coping with Middle Stage Alzheimer’s Disease

coping with middle stage alzheimers disease
Going through mid-stage Alzheimer’s does not mean that life comes to an end. There are plenty of things that ill people can do to remain sane and enjoy life a little bit like:

Engage in Pleasurable Activities

engage in pleasurable activities
Depending on the level of interest and ability, a person with Alzheimer’s needs to take part in activities they will enjoy.

This can be anything from going for short walks, gardening, crafts, or helping with meal times. These do not need to be anything strenuous and difficult.

The main goal of engaging in various activities is to have fun and forget about the sickness even if it’s just for a little while.

This will not only enhance the quality of life, but it can also help to reduce some behaviors like aggression and wandering.

Remember that the person with Alzheimer’s has to enjoy these activities, or else it will not bring forth the desired results.

Work with a Suitable Daily Care Plan

work with a suitable daily care plan
Daily routines work out well for persons experiencing middle stage Alzheimer’s disease. Planning out the day in advance means that a person knows what they will do.

This is beneficial because the suffering individual does not need to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what they should be doing.

At this stage, a caregiver should assist in planning for the day. They should schedule activities that focus on a person’s strengths, likes, interests, and abilities.

The day must include adequate time for bathing, dressing, meals, and rest time.

For people who experience any type of sleep problem, it would be best if they stick to regular times for going to bed and waking up.

Daily routines also need to be flexible enough so that if need be a person can add some spontaneous, meaningful activities.

Most importantly, the day to day routines should adapt to changes the person with Alzheimer’s is going through.

Incorporate Music and Art

incorporate music and art
Art and music have a way of enriching the lives of individuals who have Alzheimer’s, particularly at the middle and end stages.

These allow affected people to engage and express themselves better.

Studies show that music might help improve some behavioral issues.

For instance, if a person listens or dances to the tunes, they love, it can help them feel less agitated.

Music is also known to offer a way to connect in cases where verbal communication becomes more difficult.

Art projects, on the other hand, can offer a sense of purpose and achievement. It should be exciting to engage in using materials that are not toxic or sharp.

Persons participating in the art project should also take their time and have a blast with the activity keeping in mind that the project does not have to end in a single sitting.

Join Support Groups

join support groups
Alzheimer’s disease can be a very alienating illness where most people just want to stay alone. This is not wise because this is what leads to health complications like depression.

It is crucial to find a support group that is close to your location. You can thereby meet other people who are in a similar situation.

This can give you solace, knowing that other people also experience the same challenges.

The support groups can also offer great resources that can help make the Alzheimer’s journey a little bit easier.

Closing Remarks

Experts are currently working tirelessly to come up with a cure for Alzheimer’s because there is none.

For this reason, is important for a person going through middle stage Alzheimer’s to closely work with their doctor to explore treatment options that can help to reduce symptoms that a person experiences.

Do not forget to pay attention to other health issues like dental needs.

Understand that the middle level of the disease requires more effort than the earlier stages.

This implies that persons with Alzheimer’s need all the support they need to live life to the fullest.

As a side note, the person with Alzheimer’s also needs to start planning for the future if the necessary measures are not put in place yet.

This way, there will be no debate when it comes to fulfilling care, legal, and financial wishes when the time comes. Some steps that you can take to secure the future include:

1. Looking into services that are available as your needs change and the illness progresses. These can include care facilities, community programs like Meals on Wheels, respite care, and homecare.

2. Appointing a power of attorney to a trustworthy person. This is the individual who will be responsible for voicing out your decisions when it comes to legal, care, and financial matters where you are not in a position to make a sound judgment.

16 Warning Signs Of Alzheimer’s 2023

signs of alzheimers

You must not ignore changes in an older adult and these signs of Alzheimer’s will help you pay attention. Instead of being lost and wondering what to do next, first skim through the different signs and go from there.

Bear in mind, if they forget a name or where they put their keys every once in a while does not necessarily mean they have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

However, if it happens repeatedly, it might already be a sign of the condition.

Once you are fully aware of the most common signs, you will easily recognize changes and act accordingly.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is not something that happens overnight.

It is a brain disorder that keeps evolving over many years. There are numerous different factors that contribute to the development, yet still, no scientist and doctor fully understand its development.

If you notice any of the signs and symptoms appear in your relative or friend, and they keep on repeating, we advise you to see a doctor.

Due to the complexity of the disease, you need to understand the signs vary from person to person.

Also, while it is most common that Alzheimer’s disease develops in the mid-60s, some experience it earlier while others in their 70s and beyond.

In other words, the progression of the condition is person-specific.

Study Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease Carefully

1. Memory Loss

memory loss signs of Alzheimer's
Memory loss is one of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s and initially, it might seem just like normal age-related forgetfulness.

In the later stages of the disease, it affects the ability to recognize places and people including family and friends. People with Alzheimer’s have a propensity to start wandering in the late afternoons and evenings.

Repetitive movement due to memory challenges is what causes the person to wander around. It poses challenges when they are unable to remember their way back home and they end up putting themselves in dangerous situations.

Memory challenges often lead to losing things, forgetting to keep appointments, and misplacing items or storing them in odd places.

2. Spontaneity/ Poor Judgements

spontaneity poor judgements
Mood swings and personality changes are some of the signs of Alzheimer’s that are easy to spot. With Alzheimer’s, poor judgment is not only about questionable decisions.

Instead, it is a pattern of unfortunate actions and decisions.

You may find that a person with Alzheimer’s constantly uses vulgar language or can start undressing in public. Most people cannot even recognize danger.

You may find a person with Alzheimer’s constantly putting themselves in harm’s way. For instance, if a person underwent surgery of a broken hip, the doctor may put them on bed rest for a while.

People with Alzheimer’s will not listen to the doctor but will insist on moving around even when it hurts badly.

3. Problems in Completing Daily Tasks

problems completing daily tasks
One of the notable changes that affect someone with Alzheimer’s is their inability to see daily tasks to their completion. It includes activities like shaving, cooking, and cleaning which all of a sudden becomes challenging.

A shortened attention span is the reason why someone with Alzheimer’s will start working on a task and move to another activity without completing the first.

The progression of the disease eventually affects a person’s ability to organize their thoughts or think logically.

Another challenge sparked by memory loss is repetitiveness, which causes a person with Alzheimer’s to lose their chain of thought and repeat themselves severally.

4. Trouble Managing Finances

trouble managing finances
Managing money is a huge problem for people with Alzheimer’s. In fact, it is one of the first noticeable signs of Alzheimer’s.

Solving numerical problems becomes a big challenge. Coupled with memory problems, a person with dementia starts forgetting to pay bills or overpays for items when shopping.

As the disease becomes worse, the individual may not even realize that they can no longer handle money matters. Some will even try and hide financial problems in a bid to protect their independence.

A trustworthy family member or trustee needs to step in and check bank statements as well as other financial records monthly.

This protects the individual with Alzheimer’s from fraud or financial abuse.

5. Aggressive Tendencies

aggressive tendencies are signs of Alzheimer's
Increased anxiety, might cause someone to lash out aggressively when they feel out of their comfort zone. Often, the anger outbursts might seem out of the blue to onlookers and wildly inappropriate.

Someone with Alzheimer’s will also have problems coping or accepting new situations because they are always worried or restless.

The later stages can spark hallucinations and paranoia, which leads the person with Alzheimer’s to see things that do not exist.

Although no one certainly knows why it happens. Multiple factors can cause aggression. These include poor communication, stress, environmental factors, and physical discomfort.

6. Inability To Grasp New Concepts

inability to grasp new concepts
As memory loss, entering the moderate stage of Alzheimer’s, it affects the ability to learn.

Difficulty with language is also experienced and a person with the disease often has challenges reading and writing legibly.

Repetitiveness is also experienced when the person might ask a question severally despite receiving an answer.

In the severe stages of the disease, the person with Alzheimer’s might lose their ability to communicate entirely. Other than learning impairments, some individuals with the illness block the information they think they should know.

This is one of the signs of Alzheimer’s that may pave the way, go together with, or follow a burst of other anxiety symptoms and sensations.

7. Over Sleeping

over sleeping
Someone with Alzheimer’s goes through many changes and one of them is tied to sleep. Disruption of the sleep/wake cycle is one of the negative effects of Alzheimer’.

Some individuals will sleep more than usual and this may include taking long naps during the day.

New research from Dr. Matthew Pase from Boston University suggests that sleeping for over nine hours a night is an Alzheimer’s warning sign.

Persons usually become sleepier as the disease progresses. Some people will even sleep during the day and stay awake all night.

Many individuals with Alzheimer’s will also experience sundowning. This is agitated behavior that normally occurs after the sunset.

It may involve yelling out, getting violent or pacing.

8. Weight Loss

weight loss
Losing weight is a manifestation of Alzheimer’s disease. The medial temporal cortex responsible for memory and feeding behavior is affected at the onset of the illness.

Eating becomes more difficult in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

As the disease progresses, food tends to be less appealing to people who have Alzheimer’s. The primary reason behind this is that the disease dulls the senses of smell and taste contributing to the loss of appetite.

Some individuals will even lose a lot of weight despite eating enough food. People with Alzheimer’s may also struggle to recognize food or beverages; thus, end up not eating because of the damage the illness causes the brain.

9. Skin Infections

skin infections
It is common for people with Alzheimer’s to pick or scratch their skin because of infections.

One of the signs of Alzheimer’s to look out for is incredibly dry skin that gets irritated and itchy. Use of harsh soaps and other body products can also cause this.

Another reason someone with Alzheimer’s may get skin infections is through pests such as fleas, lice, mites, ringworm, and bedbugs. The individual may also be experiencing allergies that cause scratching and itching.

It is advisable to seek medical treatment as soon as you notice this sign to treat the cause of skin infections fast. This way, the person with Alzheimer’s can live more comfortably.

10. Trouble Swallowing

trouble swallowing
A person with dementia may struggle to chew and swallow food. Caregivers may misconstrue this sign of Alzheimer’s thinking that the person simply does not like the food on the plate.

Some people simply forget to chew the food and end up holding it in their mouth.

In the later stages of the disease, dysphagia or swallowing difficulties become more prevalent. These can lead to dehydration, weight loss, high fever, belly pain, chest congestion, choking while eating and malnutrition.

Aspiration pneumonia is one of the unfortunate consequences brought about by difficulties in swallowing.

It’s pneumonia that causes the lungs to take in liquids or food instead of air.

11. Recurring Falling and Tripping

recurring falling and tripping
Before we even continue if you or anyone else who you know is falling or tripping frequently, you need to tell the doctor about it.

A study showed that the older adults who were falling the most during the research showed early signs of Alzheimer’s disease after they did the brain scans.

Have in mind, it is not a guarantee that someone who is on the floor a lot or simply becomes very clumsy will develop dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease.

However, cognitive problems may occur as it is not normal for a healthy human being to misstep and slip very often.

Always watch after yourself and act early enough when you discover something uncommon.

12. Vision Changes

vision changes
Because the eye and the brain work together, someone with Alzheimer’s may go through vision changes. Different areas of vision may be affected by the elderly generation.

One of them is the inability to detect movement. Persons with the disease may perceive everything around them to be a still photo instead of an ongoing video.

Individuals with Alzheimer’s may also experience limited peripheral vision. They may not be able to see both sides when gazing forward.

This results in intense disorientation where a person may end up bumping into things. Recognizing colors also becomes an obstacle particularly in the violet-blue range.

13. Social Withdrawal

social withdrawal
Alzheimer’s can be an isolating and lonely illness. Many people with Alzheimer’s disease spend a lot of time alone and when in the company of others, they do not participate much.

It can lead to withdrawal from family, friends, and a lack of interest in familiar things and surrounding activities.

Persons with AD can start to remove themselves from the things they once loved including work projects and hobbies.

It is also likely that because of all the changes they are facing, they feel ashamed or embarrassed; thus, they do not want to face the world.

At times, a person may become withdrawn because they feel bored or isolated.

14. “Childlike” or Clingy Behaviour

childlike clingy behaviour
Persons with Alzheimer’s can at one point become totally dependent on another individual. This is where they never want to leave the other person’s side and are constantly shadowing them.

Experts reckon that this mostly happens in the evenings as the day is about to end. This is where an individual with AD starts to feel fearful, worn down and confused.

They follow the person they trust around because they are not sure how long they will be gone if they leave their sight. This is why they do not have a problem following a person everywhere they go even to the bathroom.

15. Seizures

Seizures occur in people with dementia at a high rate. Unprovoked seizures affect a huge percentage of individuals with Alzheimer’s.

It is not yet clear the exact mechanisms that trigger the seizures. The seizures are also not easy to diagnose because the behaviors that the individuals present may mimic those of the illness.

Individuals may go through non-epileptic episodes triggered by confusion and inattention not to be confused with seizures.

Many studies conclude that seizures are uncommon for people with Alzheimer’s, but they do occur more in people with AD than those in the general population. With Alzheimer’s, younger age is also a risk factor.

16. Difficulty Communicating

difficulty communicating
As Alzheimer’s progresses an individual’s communication and language skills start to diminish. You may be talking to a person and in the middle of the conversation, they suddenly stop because they do not know what to say next.

Vocabulary can be particularly troublesome.

A person may struggle to identify the correct word; thus, end up using the wrong names to refer to things. For instance, an individual may call a house a car. Some individuals also have tendencies to invent new words and phrases.

Others will use one word repetitively. As time goes by, an individual may turn to the use of gestures.

15 Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s In Elderly 2023

symptoms of alzheimer's in elderly

We will look at the most typical and common symptoms of Alzheimer’s in elderly people.

As a caregiver or a relative, you need to be aware of these so you can take action early enough.

As soon as you start working on getting a senior to see a doctor and they prescribe an appropriate treatment, the easier the process.

Even if you think (or believe) sudden changes in behavior are due to old age, think again. With more and more people getting diagnosed with dementia (and Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause), you should take thing seriously enough.

There are about ten million new cases of dementia each year worldwide. Old people of the age sixty and beyond are those who are affected the most commonly.

However, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease appear in a much younger population, too.

What’s even more shocking, Alzheimer’s disease is one of the top leading causes of death in older adults. And the numbers keep on increasing due to the fact that there is still no cure for dementia.

But there are different treatments that lessen the impact, which is why you must be aware of the symptoms first and foremost.

Most Typical Symptoms of Alzheimer’s in Elderly

1. Misplacing Belongings

symptoms of Alzheimer's in elderly - misplacing belongings
Scientists haven’t fully established the root cause of Alzheimer’s disease in relation to how it affects different people.

The condition is generally attributed to genetic components that are responsible for triggering the early-onset symptoms and a series of complex changes in the brain over time which results in late-onset Alzheimer’s.

One of the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer’s in elderly people presents itself as misplacing belongings.

It could be things like forgetting where to store items or placing things where they don’t belong. In the case of elderly people, it’s often thought of as a sign of aging and easily dismissed.

2. Trouble Forming New Memories

trouble forming new memories is a symptom of Alzheimer's
Age is a contributing risk factor when it comes to the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease as noted between people who are 65 to 85 years old.

Research suggests that the incidence of Alzheimer’s doubles every five years after the age of 65.

However, the disease does not correlate directly with aging but the odds of diagnosis is higher in older people. That is why signs like problems with forming new memories are hard to discern because several other issues related to aging have often become prominent by that time.

The illness, in general, affects the brain process and a person’s ability to form new memories.

3. Confusion Of Time

Alzheimer's disease symptom confusion of time
Abnormal plaques and tangles that develop as we age have been linked with the damaging and ultimate demise of the brain’s nerve cells.

Plaques refer to deposits of protein fragments known as beta-amyloid which may build up within nerve cell spacings over time. Tangles are twisted fibers of a different kind of protein known as tau.

Alzheimer’s affects most regions of the brain which in turn affects thinking, memory, judgment, problem-solving, language, behavior, and movement.

Confusion is yet another symptom of Alzheimer’s in elderly people that is often attributed to the aging process.

It affects someone’s ability to perceive places and also perceive the passing of time. They might forget what’s typical and also forget simple things like the day of the week.

4. Impairments With Abstract Thinking

impairments with abstract thinking
As the damage developed by the brain cells worsens, it affects a person’s ability to organize their thoughts and express themselves. The disease begins to attack the brain cells long before the symptoms of Alzheimer’s in elderly people become apparent.

The pre-clinical stage is only discernable in research settings but the mild cognitive impairment that follows comes with signs related to diminished thinking and memory skills.

A person with Alzheimer’s disease often has challenges performing complex tasks that require critical thinking. Much like misplacing belongings, they might forget what numbers are for or have trouble co-relating the written digits with their corresponding names.

Someone with the disease also starts having challenges with things they often did with ease like balancing a checkbook.

5. Moderate Dementia

moderate dementia
At some point, when the damage to the brain cells continues to worsen a person with Alzheimer’s develops moderate dementia.

The person becomes more confused and their forgetfulness also becomes heightened. It’s at this stage that they start having more challenges with activities of daily living, including things like grooming.

The period is marked by confusing names and even the inability to recognize friends or family members.

For the elderly, this is the point when they begin to wander around more, searching for places that feel familiar. The conditions make it unsafe to leave them alone and they start requiring a given level of assistance.

6. Inability to Communicate Coherently

inability to communicate coherently
Yet another symptom of Alzheimer’s in elderly people that is often confused with the natural aging process is the inability to communicate coherently.

As people age, it’s often typical for them to start speaking at a slower speed. People with Alzheimer’s often have trouble finding the simplest of words to express what they intend and they may substitute them with unusual words.

It makes both their written and spoken speech much harder to understand. They may want to find a hairbrush and refer to it as “that thing for the head,” which might seem odd or unusual of them particularly if they are the ones who misplaced the item in the first place.

7. Impaired Visuospatial Abilities

impaired visuospatial abilities
Some people might start having challenges with processing visual information pointing out to the possibility of the disease.

Problems are quite common, particularly in the case of people who develop cataracts during the aging process.

The change comes through as problems with reading, determining color, and judging distance. Given that different areas related to vision could develop sudden lapses, a person with Alzheimer’s might also have trouble perceiving movement as well as issues with their peripheral vision.

These are all things that pose a great problem when driving and signal that it’s time for the person to stop operating any type of machine.

8. Muscle Memory Loss

muscle memory loss
Several ailments affect fine motor skills including Parkinson’s disease but it’s also a symptom of Alzheimer’s in elderly people.

The tricky little tasks most of us take for granted like threading a needle, writing neatly, and buttoning a shirt all become problematic to someone with Alzheimer’s.

In the same way memory loss associated with remembering information affects people with the illness, they also suffer from muscle memory loss.

It refers to a diminished ability to make use of motor skills when the part of the brain that communicates with the muscles becomes damaged.

It’s visible through aspects like taking shorter steps with a shift to a particular side. Numbness experienced in the extremities can also signal the disease.

9. The Sundowner Syndrome

the sundowner syndrome
Insomnia is another symptom of Alzheimer’s in elderly people marked by shifts in patterns of sleeping.

However, the sleep issues one person develops may vary from what someone else with Alzheimer’s experiences.

It could be problems with falling asleep in the first place or conversely sleeping more than usual.

Often, the day/night sleep cycle suffers, resulting in the Sundowner Syndrome. It’s noticeable by the sudden increase in the length or number of day time naps.

At the same time, experts attribute it to one of the normal changes that come with aging but it’s safe to bring it to a physician’s attention.

10. Poor Grooming and Hygiene

poor-grooming and hygiene
Whether due to apathy or increased forgetfulness, poor grooming and hygiene are among the other symptoms of Alzheimer’s that are noted in the elderly.

It’s more apparent in individuals who often take good care of their appearance and all of a sudden start looking disheveled. You can identify it through aspects like a senior wearing the same clothes several days consecutively.

It also presents itself when someone stops shaving or stops brushing their hair or handling other grooming aspects like brushing their teeth.

Poor or lack of grooming also becomes more apparent as the condition progresses and affects a person’s motor skills.

11. Mood or Behavior Shifts

mood or behavior shifts
There is a tendency to notice that most seniors seem forlorn or less enthusiastic about life in general. Often, it’s even more evident in older adults who are suffering from terminal medical conditions.

People with Alzheimer’s experience the same symptoms marked with mood or behavior changes.

It is always inverse behavior, for instance, someone outgoing suddenly becomes withdrawn and another person known to keep to themselves might suddenly embrace an outgoing personality.

Anger and aggressive tendencies are also exhibited by people with Alzheimer’s when it’s unnecessary and appears out of line.

It all often comes from feeling extremely confused, suspicious of others in unfamiliar surroundings, and experiencing heightened anxiety.

12. Hallucinations, Paranoia, and Delusions

hallucinations paranoia and delusions
People suffering from various neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease, vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s often experience delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia.

Someone with the condition may feel out of their comfort zone and start being wary, suspicious, and distrustful about those around them.

They might also start seeing, hearing, smelling or even tasting things that don’t really exist.

Experiencing any of these symptoms whether in a woken state or when asleep isn’t usual by any account and seeking medical treatment could lead to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

The fact that it’s also a symptom that is characteristic of other conditions like schizophrenia could also lead to a false diagnosis.

13. Body Shuts Down

body shuts down
It’s unfortunate that Alzheimer’s, just like other neurodegenerative conditions, doesn’t have a cure. The conditions progressively worsen and soon enough, the person suffering from it loses their physical functions entirely.

That includes being bedridden and losing the ability to see, hear, or talk entirely.

It’s difficult to assess individual prognosis due to how the disease affects every individual differently and in the course of an indeterminate period before conclusive diagnosis.

Life expectancy after a diagnosis is roughly seven years; fewer than 3% of people who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s live past fourteen years.

The best that doctors can do following diagnosis is to manage the symptoms to the best of their abilities.

14. Repetitive Questioning

repetitive questioning
One of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s in the elderly is the fact that they keep on asking the same question over and over again. If you are blind to their condition, this may annoy you what can get you to react inappropriately towards them.

With this, you create even more tension in the person with Alzheimer’s disease, which can end up with irrational behavior. With that in mind, keep calm if the older adult asks the one question for the tenth time.

One thing you need to understand is that they, very likely, are unaware of the repetitive questioning.

If you have not already taken them to the doctor, now is the right time to seek help from a practitioner.

15. Poor judgment

poor judgement
It is very common that a person with Alzheimer’s disease starts experiencing poor judgment. This can affect all sorts of different aspects of one’s life.

For instance, they cannot make the right decision when it comes to money anymore. They do not have control over the money, payments and cost, paying less or giving away more money. It is sad that some people then start taking advantage of the latter.

Moreover, it is also widespread that an individual begins forgetting about taking care of themselves.

From washing themselves and their teeth to taking care of their clothes and other whatnot, hygiene becomes a struggle.

12 Signs of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease 2023

signs of early onset alzheimer's

In this article, we discuss the most common and not so common signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s everyone should pay attention to. By acting early enough, we can positively impact the extension of the survival time of the patient.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder that causes brain cells to degenerate and die. The condition makes an individual develop severe memory impairment as it progresses, interfering with a person’s independence.

It is one of the most common causes of dementia, which is a condition responsible for the continuous decline in behavior, thinking, and social skills.

Currently, there is no cure for the illness.

People with the disease can, however, benefit from medications and alternative treatment options that seek to slow down the decline rate and improve symptoms.

So, how can you or a loved one know that they have Alzheimer’s disease?

Several signs may be an indication of the presence of the disease. Below we will look at some of the signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Signs of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s

1. Memory Loss

signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s - memory loss
Almost everyone at some point battles with memory lapses. It is normal to forget something like the name of a person you once met or where you placed your car keys.

However, memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease is different from the norm. It is usually persistent and becomes worse over time.

Caregivers and people who have this illness report that loss of memory is among the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

This affects how a person behaves at home or in the workplace. There are several things a person who has Alzheimer’s may display like:

  • Repeating the same question or statement all the time
  • Getting lost in familiar places
  • Forgetting appointments, birthdays, and other significant dates
  • Routinely misplacing things and putting them in locations that do not make sense. For instance, a person may think that it is right to put their clothes and shoes in the freezer.
  • Forgetting the names of relatives and friends
  • Getting lost in conversations, etc.

2. Increased Agitation and Aggression

increased agitation and aggression is a sign of Alzheimer's
Many people with mild Alzheimer’s tend to become more aggressive and agitated. Agitation is where the individual spends a lot of time worrying and being restless.

This may be the cause of sleeplessness, pacing, and aggression because one cannot seem to settle down.

Being aggressive means that the individual might start to lash out verbally even when nothing has triggered this kind of response. The ill person may also want to hit someone.

Several factors can lead to such behaviors. These may include:

  • Pain
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Soiling underwear
  • Feeling of loss, for example not being able to drive or work anymore
  • Loneliness
  • Medication interaction
  • Lack of sleep or rest among many others

As soon as you identify signs of aggression or agitation do not ignore them because it can escalate to terrible levels.

If you can identify the cause, it is important to deal with it right away.

For instance, if too much noise is the cause of aggressiveness, reducing noise pollutants in the weak person’s living space might help.

If it is not possible to deal with these new changes at home, consulting a doctor will help you get more practical solutions.

3. Wandering or Getting Lost

wandering or getting lost
Wandering also features prominently as one of the warning signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s. Studies show that 6 in 10 people who have the disease will wander.

Persons with the illness may become disoriented because they cannot remember where they are coming from or their destination. This can make them get lost or wander even on familiar grounds.

A couple of factors may contribute to wandering. These include fear, following past routines like going to their favorite store, boredom, or wanting to satisfy basic needs like eating or using the toilet.

Wandering can pose safety issues if a person is not doing it in a controlled, safe environment. Caregivers should, therefore, come up with adequate preventive measures to deal with wandering.

4. Trouble Solving Problems and Planning

trouble solving problems and planning
It is also common for people who are developing Alzheimer’s to have a hard time planning and problem-solving. A person can easily make plans but ends up not sticking to them.

It can also become challenging to complete tasks that were not a problem in the past. These mostly involve detailed projects with lots of numbers.

It is not uncommon to see a person with the illness having trouble balancing checkbooks or keeping up with bills or finances.

This, in most cases, may progress to a person not being able to recognize numbers or know how to deal with them. Some people may also have issues in the kitchen where following simple recipes becomes a huge task.

Multitasking at this point becomes strenuous because concentration levels may also decline.

5. Communication Problems

communication problems
Alzheimer’s disease may also affect how a person communicates. As the disease continues to destroy brain cells, the affected individual may lose their ability to understand speech or speak.

This is one of the signs that is noticeable during the early stages and it worsens over time.

It becomes harder for a person to process what other people are saying; thus, making it hard to participate fully and comfortably in conversations.

When speaking, sentences may be cut short because a person may struggle to remember the right words to articulate. These communication hiccups tend to happen frequently.

It is also important to note that most people who have Alzheimer’s will have a problem learning new phrases.

Common expressions and slang become impossible to remember. Some people may even start mixing up the words they should use.

For example, you can hear a person saying that they will drive their bed or eat jewelry.

It is also tough for persons with the illness to hold many ideas in their heads at the same time. This means that an individual may jump from one topic to the next without completing what they have to say about a particular topic.

6. Eating Difficulties

eating difficulties
As a person grows older, eating may become a problem. These changes may, however, become more pronounced in people who have Alzheimer’s disease reason they feature on the list of alarm signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s.

About 57% of people with the illness experience difficulties while chewing, swallowing, and drinking. This is where you can find a person forgets to put food in their mouth, chew or swallow it.

Some may chew but not swallow.

Others will fill their mouths wanting to eat at record speed, while some people with the illness will have a hard time swallowing the medicine, and so forth.

These problems come about because of the changes happening in the brain, as well as environmental changes like too much noise and clutter in the dining area.

There are numerous risks involved with this like:

  • Aspiration (food traveling the wrong way to the lungs)
  • Reduced quality of life quality
  • Choking
  • Poor nutrition

7. Social Isolation

social isolation
Alzheimer’s disease can be a lonely illness. At the onset of the disease, most people will want to pull out from their social circles because they lack interest in things and people they loved.

Many people just want to stay by themselves without any disturbance from others. In some cases, the people will the illness feel embarrassed about the new changes happening in their lives.

Others feel like they are becoming a bother to their family and friends, especially when they need a hand completing various daily activities.

This makes them avoid social situations where they may be forced to give up on hobbies that involve interactions with others.

People close to the person with the disease should not let this happen. Loneliness is one of the things that may lead to depression and other medical conditions, making it difficult to cope with Alzheimer’s.

Encouraging the suffering individual to seek help from support groups and people they love can help deal with withdrawal.

8. Poor Judgment

poor judgment
Impaired judgment is among the signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s. Some experts reckon that it may, at times, precede memory loss. This is where a person’s ability to make the proper decision is compromised.

People with the disease may find themselves in situations where they can no longer evaluate different factors that they should consider to make a sound decision.

Predicting the outcome of a choice made or behavior may also become challenging. When it comes to poor judgment in Alzheimer’s, it is not all about making a single questionable decision.

Instead, it is a clear pattern of inappropriate actions or decisions.

An example of this is someone who was very careful with money in the past now starts to use their money aimlessly. They can go shopping for things they do not even need or start giving away money to strangers.

A percentage of people can even start to withhold money that they should pay to companies that genuinely offer them services because they think that the receiver of the payment is no longer trustworthy.

An example is a person refusing to pay their gas or electricity bill.

9. Vision and Spatial Issues

vision and spatial issues
Many people with Alzheimer’s disease also start to experience issues with vision and spatial awareness during the early stages. The most common vision problems make it difficult for a person to judge the correct distance between objects.

This is one of the reasons most people with the illness cannot drive because they can easily cause accidents. Other than vision problems, it may also become challenging to tell colors apart. Other visual problems that people with Alzheimer’s experience include:

Reduced ability to detect movement

Persons in this state will view the world as still photos instead of an ongoing video like “normal” people do. This makes it difficult to engage in activities that involve quick motion.

Contrast sensitivity

Detecting gradients of color becomes difficult for people who have Alzheimer’s. This makes it challenging to pick out objects that are in uniform color.

For instance, an individual may have a hard time finding a toilet in a washroom where the walls, floor, and toilet are blue.

Reduced peripheral vision

This is where a person’s field of vision dramatically narrows so that they cannot see either side while gazing forward. A person in such a state tends to bump into things continually and becomes disoriented.

10. Increased Confusion

increased confusion
This is another sign that can let you know a person is starting to develop Alzheimer’s. It can get so bad to the extent that a person is not able to tell the time, date, month, or year.

This can also be accompanied by a person forgetting where they live as they deal with time perception problems. For a person with this illness, 10 minutes might seem like a decade.

This means that a wife might think that their spouse has gone to the shops for years or they have not seen their grandkids forever. Some people may even start to forget relationships during the initial stages of the disease.

Other individuals may at times be unable to identify their location or have little memory as to how they got to the place.

11. Personality and Mood Changes

personality and mood changes
A person who is developing Alzheimer’s disease may go through sessions of extreme mood swings and changes in personality. This is where an individual may showcase feelings of depression, suspicion, fearfulness, and anxiety.

Most people usually get irritated if something small happens out of their routines. It may come out in various settings, including at home, in the office, or in unfamiliar locations.

The changes can escalate aggression where the affected individuals may want to harm others when they are highly irritable.

A person may try to hit others around them because they feel like they are the cause or do not understand the new changes that are happening in their bodies.

12. Time and location confused

time and location confused
One of the most common signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s is time and location confusion.

When speaking of the former, it is not just about the hour of the day; a person that might have Alzheimer’s disease also starts to have an issue with keeping up with days, weeks, heck, even time of the year.

On the other hand, they become unfamiliar with the location they are at or do not remember how they got there. If this happens once or twice, do not panic.

However, if it keeps on happening (daily), you better take your loved one to see a specialist as soon as possible.

Closing Remarks

As people grow older one of the fears many have is developing Alzheimer’s disease. A person may experience one or more of the early signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s.

When this happens, do not ignore it as a normal part of aging. Instead, head to the doctor‘s office to get a proper diagnosis.

Even though the disease does not have a cure, early diagnosis typically translates to beginning treatment.

This gives individuals a chance to maintain independence for more extended periods. It also gives people a chance to have a voice in planning various aspects of their future.

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