World Alzheimer’s Day: what are the first symptoms?

·2-min read
The cause of Alzheimer’s is still unknown  (Peter Byrne/PA)
The cause of Alzheimer’s is still unknown (Peter Byrne/PA)

It’s World Alzheimer’s Day, a chance to demystify the life-limiting illness, educate others about it and inspire support on a worldwide scale.

Alzheimer’s and dementia are terms that are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings.

What is the difference between the two and what are the early signs of Alzheimer’s?

Here’s everything you need to know.

What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia?

Alzheimer's disease is a particular type of brain disease, whereas dementia is not a specific disease, it’s an umbrella term that describes a wide range of symptoms.

Alzheimer’s is characterised by dementia symptoms that progressively worsen over time.

What are the early signs of Alzheimer’s?

Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease frequently involve problems in memory, thinking, and reasoning abilities, since the disease first affects the area of the brain connected to learning.

As the illness worsens, symptoms including confusion, behavioural problems, and other difficulties increase in severity.

Although it’s a life-limiting illness, many people diagnosed with the condition pass away from a different cause.

Is there a cure for Alzhmeimer’s?

Alzheimer's disease currently has no known cure, but there are medications that can help with some of the symptoms such as Donepezil.

There are other types of support available to help people living with Alzheimer’s be independent, such as adapting homes so it’s easier to move around and remember daily tasks.

GPs may also suggest psychological treatments such as cognitive stimulation therapy to support your memory, problem-solving abilities and language skills.

There is no known method for avoiding Alzheimer's disease because its cause is unknown.

However, there are certain things you can do to potentially decrease your risk or postpone the start of dementia, such as stopping smoking and cutting down on alcohol, eating a healthy, balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight and staying physically fit and mentally active.