More than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's Disease, the most damaging form of dementia, and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Not every instance of memory loss signals that your brain may be misfiring, of course, so the Alzheimer's Association prepared this list of warning signs:
* Memory loss that disrupts daily life, such as forgetting names or dates, but not instances where you forget a name briefly, then remember it five minutes later
* Difficulty in making plans or solving problems, or unusual difficulty in concentrating
* Familiar tasks become hard to complete, such as remembering the rules of a favorite game or driving to a location you know well
* Confusion about time or place, such as forgetting what day it is
* Trouble with reading or judging distance, apart from organic vision problems such as cataracts
* Problems with words in speaking or writing, such as calling a "wristwatch" a "hand clock"
* Misplacing things or putting them in unusual places, also losing the ability to retrace your steps, and sometimes accusing others of stealing from you
* Poor judgment or decision-making, such as making bad decisions about money or neglecting cleanliness and grooming
* Withdrawal from social activities, such as hobbies, sports or work projects
* Changes in mood or personality such as confusion, suspicion, fear or anxiety, even among friends
If you notice any of these changes in yourself, the Alzheimer's Association recommends that you consult a doctor.