1. You experience chronic problems with short-term memory. You forget what you ate for breakfast; you can't recall your wedding date after twenty-five years of marriage; or you repeatedly ask for the same information.
2. Math-related tasks become more difficult. Budgeting for your monthly bills or doubling a recipe used to be a snap. Now it takes more time, or it can be downright confusing.
3. Daily routines may not make sense. You draw a blank on how to get to your favorite store or you forget how to update your Facebook page (assuming Mark Zuckerberg hasn't changed the method lately). This is especially concerning if your "blank spots" are frequent and related to everyday things.
4. Your ability to judge distance and time is off. You might hit your brakes too hard when approaching a red light, spatial relationships may not compute, or your sense of time is distorted.
5. You lose personal items. The key here is the frequency with which it occurs. You may also find that retracing your steps to find the lost items becomes less successful.
6. You increasingly have trouble expressing yourself. You may also find that following or participating in a conversation becomes more difficult.
7. You make rash decisions or you no longer know how to react in certain situations. Cookies are burning in the oven and you have no idea what to do; you walk across a busy intersection on a red light because you don't remember what a red light means; or you donate an unreasonable sum of money to your favorite charity.
8. You interact with people less and less. You may also notice that your mood swings wildly, something that may be unusual for you. You may feel depressed or anxious or fearful for no reason.
9. You are diabetic. Diabetes doubles your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Blood sugar issues, as well as high blood pressure, heart disease, and high cholesterol, can also put you at risk for brain cell damage that can lead to dementia.
Remember: simple, occasional occurrences of any of these issues are not generally a problem. However, if they become frequent or disruptive to daily life or relationships, you should seek medical attention in a timely manner. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is key to proper management of the condition and better living for a longer period of time.