Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that is characterised by memory loss and behavioural changes. The cause is unknown at this time, and it has no cure. Most of its victims are age 65 and older, though early onset Alzheimer’s can begin in the 40s.
Dementia describes a clinical syndrome that encompasses difficulties in memory, language, and behaviour that leads to impairments in activities of daily living.
How can clinicians recognise dementia?
Diagnosing dementia can be difficult owing to its insidious onset, symptoms resembling “normal ageing” memory loss, and a diversity of other presenting symptoms—for example, difficulty in finding words or making decisions.An individual’s ability to accommodate, compensate, or even deny his or her symptoms in the early stages should also be considered.
The individual’s family may also have noticed difficulties in communication and personality or mood changes; family concern is of particular importance. Increasing frequency of patients’ visits to their general practice, missed appointments, or confusion over drugs may also be warning signs.