Identifying Early Onset Alzheimer’s

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Identifying Early Onset Alzheimer’s

 

Alzheimer’s disease is a condition associated with advanced age, in which a person gradually loses mental faculties. However, Alzheimer’s can also occur in middle-aged people and sometimes those as young as 30. This type of Alzheimer’s disease is called early onset Alzheimer’s and is comparatively rare. Relatively young people with successful careers, earning master’s degrees, or raising children don’t expect to face Alzheimer’s, but as with the late-onset form, recognizing and identifying the disease as soon as possible is crucial.

Age Group
Early onset Alzheimer’s most often strikes people in their 50s, and sometimes younger. Early onset Alzheimer’s sufferers may still be working or raising children, so their symptoms are easily confused with stress. There’s a genetic component to the condition as well: if your grandparents had it, it’s more likely you or your siblings will develop it.

Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of early onset Alzheimer’s are similar to those older people experience. Forgetfulness, confusion, personality changes, and lack of judgment can all point to a possible diagnosis. You should be especially concerned if your loved one seems to have trouble with basic language, like forgetting common words or the names of familiar people.

Diagnosis
It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible to allows your loved one to receive care that may help provide a healthier life for a longer period of time. In addition, you and your family can begin making preparations for the later stages of the disease. Diagnosis is mainly a matter of ruling out other conditions that could cause the same symptoms. Physicians look for blood clots, brain tumors, hormone or vitamin imbalances, and other issues.

What to Do
Once your loved one has been diagnosed, there are many preparations you both should make. He should talk to his employer about the condition. Often, reducing workload can help patients function better at work and be able to do their jobs longer. You also need to discuss the diagnosis with family and make plans for when your loved one can no longer take care of himself.

Prognosis
Early onset Alzheimer’s progresses at the same rate as the late-onset condition. People with early onset Alzheimer’s may go into nursing homes sooner than other Alzheimer’s patients, but this is generally because their families are raising children or have other responsibilities and can’t take care of them full time.

Early onset Alzheimer’s can be scary for both you and your loved one. You’ll both face process grief, fear, and anger before being able to handle this diagnosis. However, if the disease is identified early, your loved one can have a normal life for a fairly long time, and make an easier transition to full-time care when the time comes.

 

 

By Elaine Hirsch

Elaine is kind of a jack-of-all-interests, from education and history to medicine and videogames. This makes it difficult to choose just one life path, so she is currently working as a writer for various education-related sites and writing about all these things instead.  Elaine currently writes for a master’s degree resource.  She can be reached at by Email

This entry was posted in Caregiving, Dementia, Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease, J. Arthur's Memory Cafe, Life with Alzheimer's, Memory Loss and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Identifying Early Onset Alzheimer’s

  1. Adam says:

    Dr. Amen,Have read several of your books and have goettn some of your DVDs. Even as a layman, I’m impressed with all the eye-opening material you’ve put together.On a related note to football players and brain injuries, I once saw on your website a story about identical twin girls and how, after one of them suffered a head injury from falling off the top of bunk beds, their lives went in remarkably different directions. As I recall, the twin who was injured started having all kinds of behavioral problems that were not found in the other twin.I’d like to be able to get ahold of a copy of that article. My own interest in the subject stems from also having fallen off the top bunk of a bunk bed when I was 5-6 years old. As a result of having read some of your writings on the subject of brain trauma and their potential effect on a person’s life, I’m curious if some of the difficulties I’ve had in life subsequent to the episode of falling out of bed is traceable to any brain trauma I may have suffered at the time, but which went undiagnosed for lack of a thorough examination.I very much look forward to hearing from you or someone on your staff about this.Respectfully,John GhormleyPortland, Ore.

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