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August 2023

8 Lesser-Known Signs of Alzheimer Disease

Forgetting things or getting lost—most people know at least one common sign of Alzheimer disease. But there are more warning signs that aren’t as recognized.

It’s important to learn about them and talk with your healthcare provider if you spot them in yourself or a loved one. The earlier you identify Alzheimer disease, the more likely treatment can help with symptoms. And then you’ll have more time to plan for the future.

Some of the lesser-known symptoms include:

1. Personality changes

Someone who’s always a go-getter now hesitates to take initiative. Or a diligent planner has trouble thinking ahead. These are causes for concern

2. Financial problems

Planning and problem-solving skills might not be as sharp, leading to difficulties with paying bills or handling cash.

3. Losing track of time

Many everyday tasks take longer when a person has cognitive problems. Their perception of time changes, too—they might get confused about the current date.

4.  Slips in self-care

Personal hygiene tasks might fall by the wayside. You might also notice lapses in caring for a pet.

5. Vision issues

Alzheimer’s disease can cause problems with processing visual information. This can make it seem like the person has poor eyesight—like trouble reading or an inability to distinguish colors.

6. Mood changes

Anyone can get irritated when things don’t go their way. But if a change in routine triggers uncharacteristic anxiety or aggression, that’s a red flag.

7. Having accidents

Alzheimer’s can affect a person’s perception of space, leading them to trip, spill, or drop things more often.

8. Shifts in sleep patterns

Some people with Alzheimer’s disease sleep more during the day and find themselves restless at night. Others may struggle to sleep much at all.

The next steps

Having any of these warning signs doesn’t necessarily mean a person has Alzheimer disease. Many of these issues could have other causes. Still, you shouldn’t wait to address them in yourself or a loved one. That’s especially true if you notice more than one symptom, including memory loss.

If you have concerns, make an appointment with a healthcare provider and ask for a cognitive assessment. That way, you can pinpoint problems early—and take action.

Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley BSN, RN
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2023
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