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Unfortunately, most Americans are unaware of the symptoms associated with Alzheimer's Disease, the most common form of dementia. Specifically, and in addition to memory loss, behavioral changes like decreased judgment, difficulty in completing tasks, and withdrawal from activities may all be signs of Alzheimer's.

The Alzheimer's Association "Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters" campaign is designed to heighten awareness of the warning signs of this horrific disease and explain the benefits of early diagnosis.

This campaign encourages all Coloradoans to seek a diagnosis from a doctor if they exhibit any of the warning signs. Early diagnosis provides individuals the access to prescribed medications, the chance to enroll in clinical trials of new treatment alternatives, and the opportunity to plan their own future as well as receive support from the Alzheimer's Association. Early detection begins with awareness.

Doctors can now diagnose Alzheimer's with 90% accuracy. To understand what to look for, a thorough review of these 10 Warning Signs is essential.

10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's:

1. Memory changes that disrupt daily life; e.g., forgetting important dates, or asking for the same information over and over.
2. Challenges planning and solving problems; e.g., unable to keep track of monthly bills, or unable to follow a familiar recipe.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks; e.g., not being able to remember the rules of a familiar game, or having trouble driving to a
     familiar place.
4. Confusion with time and place; e.g., not knowing the season, or not remembering how to get home.
5. Trouble understanding spatial relationships or visual images; e.g., having difficulty reading, driving, or telling time.
6. New problems with speaking or writing; e.g., calling objects by the wrong word, or not being able to complete a conversation.
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps; e.g., finding car keys in the oven, or becoming paranoid that others may be
8. Decreased or poor judgment; e.g., mismanaging money, or paying less attention to grooming and hygiene.
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities; e.g. not attending club meetings or church, or no longer having an interest in a favorite
     sports team.
10. Changes in mood or personality; e.g., becoming more confused, suspicious, fearful or agitated.

Every 68 seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. However, there are things that may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Here are a few tips for "brain health" as we age:

adopt a diet of low fat, high antioxidants, and high omega-3 foods;
exercise your brain with puzzles, Sudoku, math, and socializing with others;
stay active and physically fit;
lower your cholesterol;
maintain a normal blood pressure;
reduce your risk for stroke;
watch your sugar levels, and reduce your risk for diabetes;
promote good circulation; and
manage your stress -- find effective ways to relax.

Every single day, science unlocks more mysteries of the brain. But, we do not have all the answers yet. What we do know is, like other parts of the body, the brain may lose some agility as we get older. And, it can deteriorate even more without care. A good rule to remember: WHAT'S GOOD FOR YOUR HEART IS GOOD FOR YOUR BRAIN. For anyone with questions or concerns, the Alzheimer's Association provides support, free counseling, information and resources, educational classes and community presentations, and assistance. In Colorado, please feel free to call our 24-hour Helpline at 800-272-3900 and via our Website at

No one has to take this journey alone. Individuals, family caregivers, and professionals are all encouraged to reach out for help.

Submitted by:

Ann Carter, MPA

Regional Director, Southern Colorado / Alzheimer's Association Colorado Chapter / 4104 Outlook Boulevard, Bldg. B, Pueblo, Colorado 81008 / 719-544-5720 / 800.272.3900 HELPLINE /

For more information, please contact Glenice Wade, Assistant Director of Nursing, at 719-523-2141.