Managing Alzheimer’s Disease Behavior
Common behavioral symptoms of Alzheimers include sleeplessness, wandering, agitation, anxiety, and aggression. Scientists are learning why these symptoms occur and are studying new treatments drug and nondrug to manage them. Research has shown that treating behavioral symptoms can make people with Alzheimers more comfortable and makes things easier for caregivers.
Signs Of Mild Alzheimers Disease
In mild Alzheimers disease, a person may seem to be healthy but has more and more trouble making sense of the world around him or her. The realization that something is wrong often comes gradually to the person and his or her family. Problems can include:
- Poor judgment leading to bad decisions
- Loss of spontaneity and sense of initiative
- Taking longer to complete normal daily tasks
- Repeating questions
- Increased sleeping
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
A common cause of death for people with Alzheimers disease is aspiration pneumonia. This type of pneumonia develops when a person cannot swallow properly and takes food or liquids into the lungs instead of air.
There is currently no cure for Alzheimers, though there are medicines that can treat the symptoms of the disease.
What Test Will Your Doctor Do To Diagnose Alzheimers
No single test can confirm early onset Alzheimers. Consult an experienced physician if you have a family history of early onset Alzheimers.
Theyll take a complete medical history, conduct a detailed medical and neurological exam, and review your symptoms. Some symptoms may also seem like:
- medication side effects
The diagnostic process may also include magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography scans of the brain. There may also be blood tests to rule out other disorders.
Your doctor will be able to determine if you have early onset Alzheimers after theyve ruled out other conditions.
A New Research Published In Neurology Journal Suggests That Alzheimer’s Disease Can Begin As Early As 20s In Some People All You Want To Know About Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is one the most common types of dementia and while the classic symptoms of the disease often begin after the age of 65 years, a new research published in Neurology journal suggests that beta-amyloid proteins that forms plaques in the brain may begin accumulating as early as 20s. The researchers saw how beta-amyloid proteins gradually accumulated throughout life and supports previous research that found these plaques in the brain decades before the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms. Diagnosing the disease early on can help manage the symptoms effectively.
In some people, around 5% of the population affected by the disease, the symptoms could begin as early as around 30 years of age this is called Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease. The symptoms closely resemble other forms of Alzheimer’s. Forgetfulness, confusion about their surroundings, difficulty in doing complex tasks, language trouble could also signal early Alzheimer’s.
“Normally when we think of Alzheimers disease and dementia you think of an old confused person however beware it may not be so. There is a type of Alzheimers disease called Early Onset Alzheimer disease. This is usually before 65 years,” says Dr Shirish Hastak, Neurologist and Regional Director for Neurology, Stroke and Neurocritical Care at Global Hospital Parel, Mumbai.
How early onset Alzheimer’s looks like
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Legal And Financial Planning
Advance planning ideally takes place soon after a diagnosis of early-stage Alzheimers disease, while the person can still think clearly and make decisions. This web page explains the basics of legal and financial planning and links to helpful NIA publications. A Spanish-language version is provided.
Published by the NIA Alzheimers and related Dementias Education and Referral Center. Phone: 1-800-438-4380. Email: .
This program allows people with designated serious diseases and disorders, including early-onset Alzheimers, to have their applications for Social Security disability benefits reviewed quickly. See the Compassionate Allowances information on early-onset Alzheimers disease.
Published by the Social Security Administration. Phone: 1-800-772-1213. Email: .
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Attention And Language Impairment
While memory challenges can be involved in early onset Alzheimers, signs that something could be wrong can be much broader. In fact, experts note that memory loss, which is closely associated with Alzheimers, may actually be less prominent in people with early onset Alzheimers.
Instead, people with early onset Alzheimers often complain about difficulties finding words in conversation. They can experience problems with attention and orientation, as well as with simple math.
In the aggregate, patients with early-onset Alzheimers Disease, compared to similarly impaired patients with late-onset Alzheimers Disease, have better memory recognition scores and semantic memory but worse attention, language, executive functions, ideomotor praxis, and visuospatial skills, a research paper by Dr. Mario Mendez noted.
What Causes Alzheimers Disease
In recent years, scientists have made tremendous progress in better understanding Alzheimers and the momentum continues to grow. Still, scientists dont yet fully understand what causes Alzheimers disease in most people. In people with early-onset Alzheimers, a genetic mutation may be the cause. Late-onset Alzheimers arises from a complex series of brain changes that may occur over decades. The causes probably include a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. The importance of any one of these factors in increasing or decreasing the risk of developing Alzheimers may differ from person to person.
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Living With Early Onset Alzheimers Disease
When younger people reach a stage that requires extra care, this may create the impression that the disease has moved faster. But people with early onset Alzheimers do not progress faster through the phases. It progresses over the course of several years in younger people as it does in adults older than 65.
But its important to plan ahead after receiving a diagnosis. Early onset Alzheimers can impact your financial and legal plans.
Examples of some steps that can help include:
- seeking out a support group for those with Alzheimers
- leaning on friends and family for support
- discussing your role, and disability insurance coverage, with your employer
- going over health insurance to ensure certain medications and treatments are covered
- having disability insurance papers in order before the symptoms appear
- engaging in financial planning for the future if a persons health changes suddenly
Dont be afraid to seek help from others during these steps. Getting personal affairs in order can provide peace of mind as you navigate your next steps.
Theres currently no cure for Alzheimers disease. But there are ways to medically manage the condition and live as healthy a life as possible. Examples of ways you can stay well with early onset Alzheimers disease include:
Researchers are learning more about the disease every day.
What Should You Do If Youre Younger Than 65 And Having Memory Problems
As Ive discussed, if youre younger than 65 and youre having memory problems, its very unlikely to be Alzheimers disease. But if it is, there are resources available from the National Institute on Aging that can help.
What else could be causing memory problems at a young age? The most common cause of memory problems below age 65 is poor sleep. Other causes of young onset memory problems include perimenopause, medication side effects, depression, anxiety, illegal drugs, alcohol, cannabis, head injuries, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid disorders, chemotherapy, strokes, and other neurological disorders.
Here are some things that everyone at any age can do to improve their memory and reduce their risk of dementia:
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Dementia In Younger People
People whose symptoms started when they were under the age of 65 are often known as younger people with dementia or as having young-onset dementia. This is not for a biological reason, but is based on the fact that 65 was the usual age of retirement for many people.People sometimes use the terms early-onset dementia or working-age dementia. This information uses the term young-onset dementia.
Dementia is caused by a wide range of different diseases. This is similar for younger and older people , but there are important differences in how dementia affects younger people. These include the following:
- A wider range of diseases cause young-onset dementia.
- A younger person is much more likely to have a rarer form of dementia.
- Younger people with dementia are less likely to have memory loss as one of their first symptoms.
- Young-onset dementia is more likely to cause problems with movement, walking, co-ordination or balance.
- Young-onset dementia is more likely to be inherited this affects up to 10% of younger people with dementia.
- Many younger people with dementia dont have any other serious or long-term health conditions.
Effect Of Baseline Age On Atrophy Patterns
As ADNI was designed to emulate a clinical trial, the presence of such diverse neuroimaging atrophy patterns within a trial population may be an important source of variability in trials where atrophy rates are used as outcome measures. Furthermore, although diminished, the phenotype of extrahippocampal atrophy at younger ages remained in a smaller subset of participants with confirmed underlying amyloid pathology, as measured by CSF amyloid beta 142 . Although early-onset patients are more likely to have faster rates of atrophy and provide greater power to detect a disease-modifying effect , the etiology underlying extrahippocampal atrophy patterns in younger patients may have an impact on drug effectiveness. More research is required to understand whether specific outcome measures that are appropriate for older populations are the optimal choice in clinical trials in younger patients. Trials may benefit from restricting samples to individuals with a typical pattern of atrophy as previously suggested or by stratifying for atrophy pattern. In addition, variability in individuals’ rates of atrophy in clinical trials can compromise detection of an overall group treatment effect. Usage of clinical trial run-in to assess each subject’s initial rate of progression may provide greater power to detect a treatment effect when testing a trial population containing both younger and older AD subjects .
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How Is Alzheimers Disease Diagnosed
Doctors use several methods and tools to help determine whether a person who is having memory problems has Alzheimers disease.
To diagnose Alzheimers, doctors may:
- Ask the person and a family member or friend questions about overall health, use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines, diet, past medical problems, ability to carry out daily activities, and changes in behavior and personality.
- Conduct tests of memory, problem solving, attention, counting, and language.
- Carry out standard medical tests, such as blood and urine tests, to identify other possible causes of the problem.
- Perform brain scans, such as computed tomography , magnetic resonance imaging , or positron emission tomography , to support an Alzheimers diagnosis or to rule out other possible causes for symptoms.
These tests may be repeated to give doctors information about how the persons memory and other cognitive functions are changing over time.
People with memory and thinking concerns should talk to their doctor to find out whether their symptoms are due to Alzheimers or another cause, such as stroke, tumor, Parkinsons disease, sleep disturbances, side effects of medication, an infection, or another type of dementia. Some of these conditions may be treatable and possibly reversible.
In addition, an early diagnosis provides people with more opportunities to participate in clinical trials or other research studies testing possible new treatments for Alzheimers.
Statistics: Demographics And Baseline Volumetrics
WMH volumes were downloaded from the ADNI Laboratory of Neuro Imaging Image Data Archive , which were previously segmented using an automated technique from baseline PD, T1, and T2 weighted images . These volumes were log-transformed to reduce skewness. Linear regression analyses, with F tests, were used to test for between-group differences in baseline age, MiniMental State Examination , total intracranial volume , WMH, whole-brain and hippocampal volume. Fisher’s exact test was used to investigate gender differences. For WMH, brain and hippocampal volume analyses, TIV was added as a covariate. TIVs were calculated using a previously described SPM12b-based automated technique .
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What Are The Differences Between Early
In addition to age, there are other differences between early-onset and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, including the following:
- Most cases of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease appears to be linked with a genetic defect on chromosome 1 or 14 late-onset Alzheimer’s is not linked to this genetic defect. Also Down syndrome patients develop early onset Alzheimers dementia after the age of 40 because they have an inherent defect on chromosome 21. Some patients who have early onset Alzheimers disease have the ApoE 4/4 gene, which is a very strong genetic risk factor for disease development.
- A condition called myoclonus muscle twitching and spasm is more commonly seen in early-onset Alzheimer’s disease than in late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
- Some research suggests that people with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease decline at a faster rate than do those with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Younger people who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease tend to be more physically fit and active, and many still have family and career responsibilities. As a result, they tend to react differently to the disease, and may be more likely to feel powerless, frustrated and depressed.
Tips for living with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease
Here are some tips for living with Alzheimer’s disease:
Family and friends
Financial and legal matters
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/26/2019.
What Causes Younger Onset Dementia
Many different types of dementia can affect younger people. Each type has its own symptoms and is caused by a specific type of change in the brain. Some causes of early onset dementia are:
- Alzheimers disease
- problems with blood flow to the brain
- deterioration to the front part of the brain
- chronic overuse of alcohol over many years
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Mood Or Personality Changes
Someone with Alzheimers disease may start to experience a change in mood . They can feel irritable, confused, anxious, or depressed. They may also lose interest in things they used to enjoy.
They could become frustrated with their symptoms or feel unable to understand the changes taking place. This may present as aggression or irritability toward others.
Early Sign Of Alzheimers Symptoms
Pennsylvania State University PET scan of a human brain with Alzheimers disease.Early Signs of Alzheimers in your 40s and 50s, 1 It is quite fair to claim that one of the most common and the brightest signs of Alzheimers in men is characterized by memory loss, and can provide time to plan for future care. It may allow preventive steps for brain health that could potentially delay some symptoms. Individuals with a cognitive impairment due to a treatable condition can receive appropriate Memory loss is one of the most prominent early signs of Alzheimers, more and more people over the age of 65 have been diagnosed with Alzheimers Disease, it is possible for anyone to come down with this disease.
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Medications To Treat The Underlying Alzheimer’s Disease Process
Aducanumab is the first disease-modifying therapy approved by the FDA to treat Alzheimers disease. The medication helps to reduce amyloid deposits in the brain and may help slow the progression of Alzheimers, although it has not yet been shown to affect clinical outcomes such as progression of cognitive decline or dementia. A doctor or specialist will likely perform tests, such as a PET scan or analysis of cerebrospinal fluid, to look for evidence of amyloid plaques and help decide if the treatment is right for the patient.
Aducanumab was approved through the FDAs Accelerated Approval Program. This process requires an additional study after approval to confirm the anticipated clinical benefit. If the follow-up trial fails to verify clinical benefit, the FDA may withdraw approval of the drug. Results of the phase 4 clinical trial for aducanumab are expected to be available by early 2030.
Several other disease-modifying medications are being tested in people with mild cognitive impairment or early Alzheimers as potential treatments.
Addressing Early Onset Alzheimers Symptoms
Fortunately, there are ways to begin treating some of the symptoms of early onset Alzheimers once its been identified, and there are ways of coping with the disease.
Family members may often have to advocate for their loved one if theyre experiencing these symptoms at a young age. Thats because primary care doctors, Ellison said, often do not have the specialized training to understand early symptoms of dementia and they typically have less and less time to spend with their patients.
Its critically important for families to persist, he said, because other treatable diseases may be causing dementia-like symptoms. Untreated attention disorder deficit, Ellison said, can often look like early dementia. In other cases, gastrointestinal issues cause dementia-like symptoms or multiple medications may be causing a negative reaction.
The first step is to check in with your doctor and ask for a memory or cognition test. Once you or your loved one has been assessed, your primary care doctor should refer you to a dementia specialist to run further tests and ultimately arrive at a diagnosis.
Being able to diagnose the disease early on can help your doctor tailor a treatment plan that may help slow the progression of the disease.
One critical reason to address early signs of dementia is the fact that Ellison and other experts say changes in lifestylediet, exercise and other stepscan help delay onset of full dementia.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Younger Onset Dementia
The symptoms of dementia are similar no matter what age they start. They include:
- memory loss that interferes with daily life
- withdrawing from friends and family
- losing the ability to think clearly or make judgements
- language problems
- changes to behaviour
Many conditions can produce symptoms that are similar to dementia, such as vitamin and hormone deficiencies, depression, medication, infections and brain tumours.