Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease

Early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, such as memory loss, may be attributed to the forgetfulness associated with aging. Gradually, the loss of cognitive function disrupts the patient's ability to perform common daily activities, such as paying bills, driving, and housekeeping. Some people remain unaware of their symptoms, while others are painfully aware of the fact that they are losing mental function.

Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease include the following:

  • Apraxia (inability to perform physical tasks such as dressing, eating)
  • Aphasia (loss of ability in comprehension of spoken or written language)
  • Delusions
  • Easily lost and confused
  • Inability to learn new mental tasks
  • Loss of judgment, reason, and cognitive abilities
  • Loss of inhibitions and belligerence
  • Social withdrawal
  • Visual hallucinations

In end-stage Alzheimer's disease, patients may become bedridden and need help with eating and getting out of bed to use the bathroom. Patients also may experience convulsions and seizures and may become incontinent.

Complications of Alzheimer's Disease

Depression is common in patients with Alzheimer's disease, especially during the earlier stages when they may be aware of losing mental functions.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 Jan 2000

Last Modified: 28 Aug 2015