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Normal Aging vs. Alzheimer's Disease





As we age, we all begin to occasionally forget things – that's normal, and it's expected. But the changes that occur in Alzheimer's disease go far beyond mild forgetfulness.

It's important for you to know that many commonly used prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as naturopathic and alternative therapies, can cause side effects that may affect one's mental abilities. So be sure to discuss medication use with a doctor if you feel that you are seeing abnormal signs.

For a quick overview of how the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease differ from normal aging, take a look at this table:

Normal agingEarly signs of Alzheimer's disease

Forgetting the names of people you rarely see

Forgetting the names of people
close to you

Briefly forgetting part of an experience

Forgetting a recent experience

Not putting things away properly

Putting things away in strange places

Mood changes because of an appropriate cause

Having unpredictable mood changes

Changes in your interests

Decreased interest in activities


If you’re seeing any of the above signs in someone close to you, it’s a good idea to start keeping track of these signs in the Symptom Diary. You’ll be one step closer to getting a diagnosis and if it is Alzheimer’s disease, you’ll be better equipped for a discussion with a doctor.