Other conditions that can be confused with AD are a thyroid imbalance, vitamin-B deficiency, brain injury or tumour, severe depression and drug side-effects.
Major warning signs of Alzheimer's disease
- Memory loss severe enough to affect job or life skills
- Difficulty performing familiar tasks
- Language problems
- Disorientation (of time and place)
- Poor or decreased judgement
- Problems with abstract thinking (such as following directions)
- Misplacing things
- Changes in mood or behaviour
- Changes in personality
- Loss of initiative
- Repeating questions
- Getting lost in familiar places.
AD is ultimately fatal, with death occurring an average of eight years after diagnosis. However, this figure can range from three to as many as 20 years.
But contrary to popular belief, Alzheimer's is by no means inevitable.
Who are most at risk?
- People with:
- ower levels of education
- a significant family history of AD
- a history of head injury
- a BMI (body mass index) of under 20 or over 22.5
- Anyone over 65.