Alzheimers: Early Onset and Younger
Younger/Early Onset Alzheimer's
Early Alzheimers Onset
Although Alzheimers disease has developed a reputation for its ties to old age, there are also many cases of young or early-onset Alzheimers disease that can impact individuals far from the elderly stage of their lives. While the majority of individuals who experience dementia and who are diagnosed with Alzheimers disease are elderly and near age 70 or 80, there are many individuals who experience the signs and symptoms of this illness before age 65. These individuals have what is known as early-onset Alzheimers disease.
Early-Onset Alzheimers Disease: A Growing Epidemic
With early-onset Alzheimers disease, symptoms of the condition can start to impact the lives of individuals when they are in their 40s and 50s. Of the more than 5 million Americans who are dealing with Alzheimers disease nearly 4% are in this early-onset age range. There are more than 200,000 people living in the United States with early-onset Alzheimers disease, and with number of Alzheimers diagnoses growing every year, even more young adults are falling victim in this illness. These individuals are attempting to deal with this illness and its side effects while they manage their families and careers, making the effects of this condition even more devastating.
Genetic Ties to Early-Onset Alzheimers
Although there is still some confusion regarding the direct cause of early-onset Alzheimers disease, there is some research that has found several rare genes that directly cause Alzheimers disease in younger adults. Individuals with this specific type of gene are diagnosed with familial Alzheimers disease. Individuals with this familial Alzheimers disease typically start to see symptoms of dementia as early as their 30s and will have multiple generations of family members diagnosed with Alzheimers disease.
Identifying the Symptoms
Whether dementia is a familial issue or not; one of the most important considerations to take when it comes to managing early-onset Alzheimers disease is early diagnosis. Most health care professionals will not look or test for dementia or Alzheimers disease in younger patients, so it is important that those who are experiencing certain symptoms that may be indicative of early-onset Alzheimers disease, contact a medical professional for diagnosis on their own. Typical symptoms may include memory loss and cognitive difficulties.
Diagnosing the Condition
Through a professional medical evaluation, those experiencing symptoms of dementia will be able to get insight on their condition and a more substantial diagnosis. It is important to remember that there is no single test that can confirm or deny the presence of Alzheimers disease; however, with a series of evaluations, more insight can be given on how the illness is developing and what stage of dementia you may be in. Typically a diagnosis of early stage, middle stage or late stage will be given as well as a variety of treatment plans and options that can help patients manage the symptoms of this disease.