With any disease or illness the earlier it is recognised or diagnosed the sooner interventions can be made to start to improve the condition and delay its progression. With that in mind I would like to list some of the important signs to look out for (whilst making a note on any normal variations you may encounter). The following list is not in any order of appearance (as signs may occur simultaneously or even come and go before becoming more permanent) it is just written in a way that can show you the progression of the condition.

1. The first major sign to look out for and be aware of is memory loss. Now this isn't the normal forgetting where you have put your keys, someone's name or even the occasional appointment, this is an increasing forgetfulness especially when it involves recently learned information. It may also lead on to misplacing items or putting them in inappropriate places – such as car keys in the refrigerator or the washing in the oven.

2. This memory loss may develop into problems with problem solving or abstract thinking. This is different to working out a shopping bill or balancing a cheque book and becomes difficulty with performing tasks and forgetting what objects are and how they should be used.

3. This may lead on to problems with language and word usage. Often people with Alzheimer's will forget simple words or substitute another incorrect word making their speech and writing difficult to follow. This is not when you occasionally forget a word or call something a “thingamajig” it is more when you talk about “that thing that I use on my head to keep my hair neat” instead of asking for the hair brush.

4. We have all gone into a room, forgotten why we went into it, had to retrace our steps and re-enter it – this is normal and a sign of a busy (forgetful) mind. However, difficulties may arise with Alzheimer's sufferers in performing familiar tasks and routines where they forget how to play games, prepare meals or use simple machines (like the washing machine or telephone).

5. I often forget which day of the week it is (they all seem to pass so quickly nowadays!) and occasionally I have arrived at a destination and wondered how I got there. With Alzheimer's, people can forget their own environment and neighbourhood and not know where they are, how they got there or why they are there.

6. There may be changes in mood and personality associated with the illness. This may range from mood swings such as becoming agitated, anxious, angry or tearful to just lethargic having lost the incentive to be actively involved (especially in conversation), just sitting in front of the television, sleeping and becoming more dependant on others. Although moods and personalities change as we age (they call it being cantankerous!) these moods are more extreme and changeable than normal and the failing to interact differs from mere tiredness.

7. Acting inappropriately such as wearing the wrong clothes for the weather or season (or even too many sets of the same clothes) can be a warning sign. Also making inappropriate comments, gestures and actions may also be indicative of changes. These are more extreme than the occasional wrong decision or questionable comment that we may make during the course of a normal week.

Now you know what to look out for I would suggest you read my other articles and purchase my book The Alzheimer's Alternative which will show you how to greatly lessen your chances of developing Alzheimer's and slow it's progression.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Steffan H. Abel D.C. has been involved in Chiropractic and healthcare research for over 20 years. He has run his own successful practice in the north of England for the last 19 years. During which time he has treated over 10,000 patients and given over 100,000 treatments. He has lectured and taught extensively in both Europe and America to students, chiropractors and medical doctors.

He has studied Hypnotherapy, N.L.P. and qualified as a Life Coach. He has also studied various Chiropractic-based treatments (gaining a M.Sc. in post graduate Clinical Chiropractic in 2003) as well as energy therapies such as Seichem and Reiki. In 2001 he became a Fellow of the College of Chiropractors and a Fellow of the Association of Osteomyology and in 2007 became a Fellow of the European Academy of Chiropractic.

In his spare time he spends between 15 and 25 hours per week researching all areas of “alternative” and allopathic healthcare in order to bring the best advice to his patients through his practice and writing and has just finished his latest book The Alzheimer's Alternative (www.alzheimersalternative.com). When not working he is to be found enjoying life with Sue, his partner, – whom he loves tremendously!

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Dr. Steffan H. Abel, the Official Guide to Alzheimers