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Recognizing the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease

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With the passing of Pat Summitt from early onset Alzheimer’s disease, renewed attention is being paid to the most common type of dementia.

Patty O'Brian, Alzheimer's and Dementia Specialist, Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging, joined FOX 61 Good Day Connecticut to talk about the disease.

Alzheimer's is not considered a normal part of aging.  There is no current cure, but research continues into the progressive disease.

What are some of the early signs?

  • Difficulty remembering new information
  • Changes in language, function, and skills
  • As Alzheimer's advances through the brain it leads to increasingly severe symptoms, including disorientation, mood and behavior changes; deepening confusion about events, time and place; unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers; more serious memory loss and behavior changes; and difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.

Alzheimer’s is looked at in two different groups.  If you are diagnosed before the age of 65, this is called younger onset.  There area about 200,000 people in the USA with this diagnosis.  Alzheimer’s disease is typically diagnosed after 65 years of age and older, currently there are over 5 million people in the USA living with Alzheimer’s disease.

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