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Memory problems: is it Alzheimer�s?

Recognizing Alzheimer�s symptoms and differentiating forgetfulness from other condition


A common cause of joint pain

 Becoming forgetful is a great concern for many elderly people, as memory problems are often the first sign of dementia, especially of Alzheimer's. However forgetfulness is not always a sign of Alzheimer's, but it can result from other underlying conditions, such as depression, or more simply it can occur as a natural part of the aging process. That's why it is important to distinguish between normal forgetfulness that comes with depression or aging and abnormal memory changes that come with dementia.

 Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia among older people. It is a progressive brain disorder that starts slowly with a mild loss of memory, but progresses inexorably until it destroys the patient's ability to carry out even the simplest daily activities.  

Alzheimer's slow symptom progression

Alzheimer's disease typically begins after 60 years of age. Some common early symptoms of Alzheimer's include confusion, problems with attention, spatial orientation and short-term memory, as well as language difficulties. As disease progresses, these symptoms get worse and the person with Alzheimer's starts becoming disabled. He can still perform simple tasks independently, but is generally unable to perform more complex activities, such as driving, reading and writing. As the disease progresses into the final stage, people with Alzheimer's lose the ability to speak, recognize people, feed themselves and control bodily functions. During this stage they need constant care and monitoring. They also become more susceptible to other conditions, such as skin infections and respiratory disorders.

 The course of the disease is slow, with disability and death occurring 8-10 years after diagnosis. However some people can survive as long as 20 years after diagnosis.


Alleviate Alzheimer's symptoms*

Alzheimer's disease has no cure. However there are some medications that can help alleviate the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. These medicines are usually more effective the earlier they are administered. That's why it is important to make the diagnosis as early as possible. As well as it is important to rule out other causes of memory loss that can be effectively treated, such as vitamin B12 deficiency, chronic alcoholism, brain tumours or infections or emotional problems like stress, anxiety and depression. Even normal forgetfulness associated with aging is, unlike Alzheimer's, somewhat manageable (for example by staying mentally active), other than being a considerably less serious condition than dementia.


Every old person who experiences spatial disorientation, short-term memory loss or problems with attention should visit a physician with extensive knowledge and experience in memory loss and dementia to get a proper diagnosis. This is extremely important in order to identify the potential cause of memory loss and determine if the condition is treatable, as well as to start a symptomatic treatment as early as possible.


Because people with Alzheimer's disease need constant help and care for many years, it is important to consider getting a reliable medical Insurance before the disease appears.


 International Health Cover is an International Medical Insurance broker. We have developed relationship with all major International providers. We  can offer you and your family peace of mind with free personalized  information over a wide range of International Health Insurance plans.

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*Always seek professional medical advise from a qualified doctor before undergoing any treatment.