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What is Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease?

  • 15 June, 2017

Alzheimer’s Disease affects over 5 million individuals in the USA alone, and is one of the top ten causes of death. It is commonly associated with age, and people over 65 years old, but about 5% of diagnoses are those in their 40’s or 50’s. This is considered younger, or early onset alzheimer’s.

It can be difficult to diagnose in that age range, because some symptoms can portray themselves as typical aging or a result of stress, but can be a slow decline of memory, cognitive skills and problem solving.

Symptoms
Symptoms of early onset Alzheimer’s are essentially the same as Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of Dementia, which is an umbrella term for the loss of memory functions and ability to perform cognitively.

Memory loss is sometimes a part of natural aging, but there is a difference between a lapse in memory, such as forgetting dates, but remembering them later, and constantly forgetting important information and even getting lost.

Difficulty planning and following a plan of action can also be an indicator of this disease. Being unable to follow a budget, and making poor decisions with money can also indicate cognitive issues.

Concentration issues, being unable to complete day-to-day routine tasks, including driving are all symptoms of this disease. Losing track of time and dates, being unable to plan and follow through with events and becoming extremely forgetful can be signs of Alzheimer’s.

Vision loss, difficulty with language and vocabulary, and making poor decisions can be signs. An example of this is giving money to telemarketers, questionable businesses or a cause they may otherwise not give money to.

When these individuals start withdrawing from social events they enjoy, family events or hobbies and avoidance can only cause this symptom to worsen.

Mood swings and personality changes, like confusion, anxiety, depression and fearfulness, especially outside of their normal routine can be a sign of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The cause of Alzheimer’s remains to be discovered, but there are several theories that there may be more than one risk factor, including lifestyle.

Risk Factors
While Alzheimer’s isn’t a guarantee as you age, you are more at risk the older you get. Adults over 85 have a 50% chance of being diagnosed with this disease.

Currently, there is no cure for alzheimer’s. There are some treatments available for some aspects of the disease, but there is constant ongoing research to improve these.

It is case-by-case basis as to how the symptoms affect the individual suffering, including how fast they progress, the level of impact and the life expectancy associated after diagnosis. There are support options offered by local chapters of the Alzheimer’s association, support groups, support for caregivers and more.

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