Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What are the first symptoms of Alzheimer's disease?"
I know that I have a family history of Alzheimer's, and I tend to paranoid about forgetting little things, like names and faces. But what are the real first symptoms that I would notice if I do have Alzheimer's? What should I watch for, and when should I go to a doctor?
Any time you think that there is a change in your thinking or memory, you should seek care from a qualified health care professional. In this case, you can start by seeing a primary care physician such as a family doctor or internal medicine doctor. Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disease of worsening dementia. The first signs of Alzheimer's are the inability to acquire new memories such as recent events, remembering new people, and forgetting where things are. Since many of us are slightly forgetful from time to time, the initial signs of Alzheimer's go unnoticed. Later, people have problems with remembering how to do thing, such as dressing, writing, and planning activities. In later stages all of these problems get worse, and long term memory can be effected too. The occasional forgetfulness of names and faces is usually normal, and probably would not be chalked up to the development of Alzheimer's disease. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a more detailed history of your memory, perform a memory test, and a thorough physical exam. If anything worrisome is found, your doctor may refer you to a specialist such as a neurologist. Good luck.
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