Alzheimer's disease can lead to serious issues related to memory and independence. The condition can be fatal, but may also lead to dangerous conditions that can cause injury or death as well. For that reason, understanding the possible symptoms of Alzheimer's is a way to make lifestyle adjustments as early as possible.
Along with problems related to memory and cognitive ability, Alzheimer's can lead to a number of other physical impairments. These may be related to behavior, but there are a number of physical symptoms that can develop over time as well. Understanding these issues is critical for providing the right kind of support for a loved one living with the disease.
Changes in Behavior
According to the Alzheimer's Association, the earliest stages of the disease may not present obvious physical impairments, but older adults can begin to exhibit behavioral changes. For example, problems related to memory may make someone living with Alzheimer's more likely to misplace a wallet or set of keys. He might also have trouble performing complicated tasks like cooking or a procedure at work.
Overall, social interaction and cognitive undertakings may become more difficult or mentally exhausting, which can lead to frustration or anger. The Mayo Clinic found that individuals living with Alzheimer's may also experience mood swings, depression, anxiety and other emotional changes, as well as more obvious distress signs such as sleep walking or distrust of others.
Early Physical Symptoms
The Alzheimer's Association reported that as the disease progresses, cognitive impairment can lead to new symptoms. Changes in mood and emotional behavior will become more apparent, but new physical conditions can also develop.
An older adult living with Alzheimer's may begin to show repetitive, compulsory behaviors. This includes picking at the nails, hand-wringing or shredding paper or tissue. Some individuals may appear to be constantly self-grooming or picking away dirt from the body.
Another physical symptom related to the disease is the loss of bladder or bowel control. Issues related to independence overall should be considered for any older adult who may be living with Alzheimer's disease.
More Advanced Symptoms
Seniors living with Alzheimer's will exhibit diminishing mental abilities and a decline in memory. This will lead to greater confusion, problems related to emotional stability and difficulties with the activities of daily life.
Personal hygiene will likely reduce greatly for individuals in the later stages of the disease. Aside from issues with bladder control, and without the help of a caregiver or family member, it may become too difficult to brush daily or stay well-groomed. Problems related to physical mobility will become more serious as Alzheimer's progresses. This may make it difficult to walk or sit down without assistance. An individual living with the disease may also have issues related to vision.
Alzheimer's can leave an older adult more susceptible to infectious disease such as pneumonia, which is a common complication. Likewise, reduced balance and awareness can make falls and other accidents more common, leading to bruising or even bone fractures.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living