Common early warning signs of Alzheimer's disease include confusion and forgetfulness, explains Mayo Clinic. As the disease progresses, people begin to lose recent memories, including appointments, events or conversations. They often misplace items and repeat sentences. Eventually, a person with Alzheimer's disease may forget the names of common objects or family members. The person with Alzheimer's disease may notice the symptoms, or they may only be evident to outside observers.
The rate at which Alzheimer's disease progresses varies, reports Mayo Clinic. People with Alzheimer's disease develop difficulties in communicating, which can include both writing and speaking. They often have trouble with abstract concepts and numbers. Activities such as cooking or playing games that require a sequence of steps are often challenges for people with this condition. People with Alzheimer's disease often exhibit anxiety, mood swings, irritability, aggressiveness and loss of inhibitions. They may also have delusions, depression, social withdrawal, distrust of others and changes in sleep patterns. Skills acquired early in life, such as reading, dancing, singing or storytelling often remain intact until very late in the disease's progression.
The signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease are the result of the progressive destruction of brain cells, Mayo Clinic notes. Microscopic abnormalities such as tangles and plaques of protein appear in the brain as the disease progresses.