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How Do You Diagnose Early Onset Dementia

How Do I Treat Early

Early onset dementia, diagnosis, younger people with dementia: Ann’s story

An important part of managing your condition is to stay as positive as you can. Keep up with the activities you still enjoy. Try different ways to relax, like yoga or deep breathing.

Keep your body in good shape, too. Make sure you eat healthy food and get regular exercise.

Medications can help with some symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s. Your doctor may prescribe drugs to help with memory loss, such as:

These medicines can delay or improve your symptoms for a few months to a few years. They may give you more time to live independently.

The doctor also may also suggest sleeping pills, antidepressants, or tranquilizers to manage other problems related to Alzheimer’s, like insomnia, night terrors, and anxiety.

Difficulty Determining Time Or Place

Losing track of dates and misunderstanding the passage of time as it occurs are also two common symptoms. Planning for future events can become difficult since they arent immediately occurring.

As symptoms progress, people with AD can become increasingly forgetful about where they are, how they got there, or why theyre there.

How The Sage Test For Dementia Works

SAGE stands for Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination and was developed by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

The SAGE test has 12 questions that cover all aspects of cognition, including memory, problem solving, and language.

There are 4 different versions of the test. Theyre similar enough, but having multiple versions means that someone could take the test once a year and wouldnt improve their score each year just from the practice of taking it before.

This way, the test is slightly different each time.

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Common Symptoms That Occur In The Early Stages Of Dementia

As people get older, theyre likely to notice changes in the way their brain works especially what they are able to remember. The symptoms that occur in the early stages of dementia are similar to normal, age-related changes but with a few differences. These differences can help you know if you should be concerned about Alzheimers or dementia.

Here are ten early signs of Alzheimers and other types of dementia.

What Changes Can I Expect

What are the causes of young
  • The first signs of young-onset dementia can be similar to those of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, although the sequence in which signs appear varies from person to person. Typical signs include:
  • Personality changes, such as abruptness and insensitivity
  • Frequent lapses of memory, particularly involving recent memories
  • Forgetting appointments or the names of colleagues at work
  • Unsettling moments of disorientation in previously familiar places
  • Being unable to find the way home
  • Becoming confused about familiar tasks such as handling money or placing a call
  • Difficulty finding the right words
  • Difficulty with voluntary movements or physical coordination
  • Struggling to learn new things and adapting to changes at home or at work
  • Losing interest in activities that were enjoyed previously
  • Withdrawing from social contact

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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

Symptoms Specific To Frontotemporal Dementia

Although Alzheimer’s disease is still the most common type of dementia in people under 65, a higher percentage of people in this age group may develop frontotemporal dementia than older people. Most cases are diagnosed in people aged 45-65.

Early symptoms of frontotemporal dementia may include:

  • personality changes reduced sensitivity to others’ feelings, making people seem cold and unfeeling
  • lack of social awareness making inappropriate jokes or showing a lack of tact, though some people may become very withdrawn and apathetic
  • language problems difficulty finding the right words or understanding them
  • becoming obsessive such as developing fads for unusual foods, overeating and drinking

Read more about frontotemporal dementia.

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What To Do If You Think You Or A Loved One May Have Dementia

If you think you or a loved one may have dementia, a good place to start is to talk to a provider. A provider can ask questions and perform tests to help determine if anything else is going on.

Blood tests and other studies are usually the first steps in ruling out the conditions that mimic dementia. The next step is cognitive testing, during which your provider or a brain specialist asks questions to check things like memory, awareness, and language skills.

Depending on the results, your provider may order imaging tests of the brain. These can help them determine the next steps.

Diagnosing dementia often takes time, both to rule out other conditions and to observe how the symptoms progress.

Young Onset Vs Early Stage

Getting diagnosed with dementia – Christine and Jennifer-Rose – early onset

It’s important to know that term “young onset dementia” does not mean the early stage of dementia. While most people diagnosed with young onset dementia are likely experiencing mild symptoms that indicate they are in the early stage, “young onset” and “early stage” have different meanings. A 57-year-old living with young onset dementia could already be in the late stage, while a 80-year-old just diagnosed with dementia might be in the early stage.

It’s also important to note that young onset dementia encompasses all types of dementia. If a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease â the most common type of dementia âunder the age of 65, then that person can be said to have young onset Alzheimer’s disease. Likewise, if a person is diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia under 65, then that person has young onset frontotemporal dementia.

However, each person living with young onset dementia has their own preferred term to describe their dementia â ask them what they prefer!

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How Does A Doctor Test For Dementia

There is no single diagnostic test for Alzheimers disease and other causes of dementia. Dementias are diagnosed by evaluating and understanding a persons memory and thinking patterns. Doctors will consider a persons memory, grasp of language, mood states, problem-solving skills, ability to maintain focus and perform complex tasks. Evaluation may include in-office cognitive screening , physical examination, and review of labs. Labwork helps to determine whether there are vitamin deficiencies or hormonal changes at play. In some cases, evaluation may require neuropsychological testing, brain imaging , and genetic testing.

Risk Factors To Consider

Although AD isnt an expected part of advancing age, youre at increased risk as you get older. More than 32 percent of people over age 85 have Alzheimers.

You may also have an increased risk of developing AD if a parent, sibling, or child has the disease. If more than one family member has AD, your risk increases.

The exact cause of early onset AD hasnt been fully determined. Many researchers believe that this disease develops as the result of multiple factors rather than one specific cause.

Researchers have discovered rare genes that may directly cause or contribute to AD. These genes may be carried from one generation to the next within a family. Carrying this gene can result in adults younger than age 65 developing symptoms much earlier than expected.

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What Is Dementia Symptoms Types And Diagnosis

Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning thinking, remembering, and reasoning to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions, and their personalities may change. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of living.

Dementia is more common as people grow older but it is not a normal part of aging. Many people live into their 90s and beyond without any signs of dementia.

There are several different forms of dementia, including Alzheimers disease. A persons symptoms can vary depending on the type.

Key Points About Early

Young
  • Alzheimer disease commonly affects older people, but early-onset Alzheimer disease can affect people in their 30s or 40s.

  • It affects memory, thinking, and behavior.

  • Although there is no known cure, early diagnosis and treatment can lead to better quality of life.

  • Stay healthy with a good diet and regular exercise.

  • Avoid alcohol and other substances that may affect memory, thinking, and behavior.

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Future Directions In Diagnosis Research

Considerable research effort is being put into the development of better tools for accurate and early diagnosis. Research continues to provide new insights that in the future may promote early detection and improved diagnosis of dementia, including:

  • Better dementia assessment tests that are suitable for people from diverse educational, social, linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
  • New computerised cognitive assessment tests which can improve the delivery of the test and simplify responses.
  • Improved screening tools to allow dementia to be more effectively identified and diagnosed by GPs.
  • The development of blood and spinal fluid tests to measure Alzheimers related protein levels and determine the risk of Alzheimers disease.
  • The use of sophisticated brain imaging techniques and newly developed dyes to directly view abnormal Alzheimers protein deposits in the brain, yielding specific tests for Alzheimers disease.

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
  • confusion
  • 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.

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Difficulty Finding The Right Words

Another early symptom of dementia is struggling to communicate thoughts. A person with dementia may have difficulty explaining something or finding the right words to express themselves. Having a conversation with a person who has dementia can be difficult, and it may take longer than usual to conclude.

Who Is Most Likely To Develop Dementia

early onset dementia

If you are experiencing some of the above symptoms, it helps to consider your age and risk factors for Alzheimers.

There is no single cause of dementia. Instead, there are many different factors that may contribute to developing it, including:

Certain health conditions and behaviors are associated with the disease, too. These include:

  • High blood pressure: Having elevated blood pressure can affect the blood vessels in the brain, which can increase the risk of developing dementia.

  • High cholesterol: Havingelevated cholesterol levels also affects blood vessels in the brain, increasing the chances of developing dementia.

  • Type 2 diabetes: While its not fully understood why Type 2 diabetes increases dementia risk, there is a clear association between the two.

  • Depression: Studies have shown that major depressive disorder, if diagnosed before the age of 60, increases the risk of dementia. There may be an association with depression diagnosed at a later age, but more research is needed.

  • Smoking: Smoking may increase the likelihood of developing Alzheimers for a number of different reasons. One reason is that it increases the production of molecules known as free radicals, which can damage brain cells.

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Difficulty Communicating Is A Hallmark Of Dementia

Rodriguez details some of the other signs of dementia. “If a person repeats themselves while having a simple conversation, you the same story again and again without being aware that they just told you the story,” he says, or if they “have trouble remembering the answers you gave them to a question they have asked several times,” this could signal the onset of cognitive decline.

Another potential symptom? ” might have difficulty expressing the word when speaking, and often leave words out or substitute the wrong word, yet these are words they would previously use daily and would not have had difficulty with,” says Rodriguez. “An example would be if they asked you to pass them the TV remote. Instead of asking for the TV remotewords they would normally usethey say ‘pass me the flicker for the thingy.'”

The inability to clearly communicate contributes to mood swings and depression, which are also commonly seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Traditional Alzheimers And Early

Most examinations of patients who are experiencing symptoms of early-onset Alzheimers disease begin with a medical exam and medical history overview, followed by a neurological exam in an office setting. This includes tests that address the patients reflexes, speech, coordination, eye movement, and sensations. From here, several tests can be performed to better indicate whether or not the patient will develop Alzheimers disease.

In this article, well take a look at the testing methods used to diagnose early-onset Alzheimers disease and the pros and cons of each. The most widely used tests to diagnose early-onset Alzheimers disease are detailed below.

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What Are The Benefits Of Early Diagnosis

Early planning and assistanceEarly diagnosis enables a person with dementia and their family to receive help in understanding and adjusting to the diagnosis and to prepare for the future in an appropriate way. This might include making legal and financial arrangements, changes to living arrangements, and finding out about aids and services that will enhance quality of life for people with dementia and their family and friends. Early diagnosis can allow the individual to have an active role in decision making and planning for the future while families can educate themselves about the disease and learn effective ways of interacting with the person with dementia.

Checking concernsChanges in memory and thinking ability can be very worrying. Symptoms of dementia can be caused by several different diseases and conditions, some of which are treatable and reversible, including infections, depression, medication side-effects or nutritional deficiencies. The sooner the cause of dementia symptoms is identified, the sooner treatment can begin. Asking a doctor to check any symptoms and to identify the cause of symptoms can bring relief to people and their families.

Struggling To Adapt To Change

Pin on END ALZ

For someone in the early stages of dementia, the experience can cause fear. Suddenly, they cant remember people they know or follow what others are saying. They cant remember why they went to the store, and they get lost on the way home.

Because of this, they might crave routine and be afraid to try new experiences. Difficulty adapting to change is also a typical symptom of early dementia.

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Common Early Symptoms Of Dementia

Different types of dementia can affect people differently, and everyone will experience symptoms in their own way.

However, there are some common early symptoms that may appear some time before a diagnosis of dementia. These include:

  • memory loss
  • difficulty concentrating
  • finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks, such as getting confused over the correct change when shopping
  • struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word
  • being confused about time and place
  • mood changes

These symptoms are often mild and may get worse only very gradually. It’s often termed “mild cognitive impairment” as the symptoms are not severe enough to be diagnosed as dementia.

You might not notice these symptoms if you have them, and family and friends may not notice or take them seriously for some time. In some people, these symptoms will remain the same and not worsen. But some people with MCI will go on to develop dementia.

Dementia is not a natural part of ageing. This is why it’s important to talk to a GP sooner rather than later if you’re worried about memory problems or other symptoms.

At What Age Can You Test Someone For The Signs Of Dementia

There is no one particular age that someone must meet before they can be assessed for signs of dementia, although dementia is more common in people over 65. Early-onset dementia can begin in people who are in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Diagnosing dementia in its early stages is important as early treatment can slow the progression of symptoms and help to maintain mental functions.

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What Is Mixed Dementia

It is common for people with dementia to have more than one form of dementia. For example, many people with dementia have both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

Researchers who have conducted autopsy studies have looked at the brains of people who had dementia, and have suggested that most people age 80 and older probably have mixed dementia caused by a combination of brain changes related to Alzheimer’s disease,vascular disease-related processes, or another condition that involves the loss of nerve cell function or structure and nerve cell death .

Scientists are investigating how the underlying disease processes in mixed dementia start and influence each other. Further knowledge gains in this area will help researchers better understand these conditions and develop more personalized prevention and treatment strategies.

Other conditions that cause dementia-like symptoms can be halted or even reversed with treatment. For example, normal pressure hydrocephalus, an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, often resolves with treatment.

In addition, medical conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, and delirium can cause serious memory problems that resemble dementia, as can side effects of certain medicines.

Researchers have also identified many other conditions that can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms. These conditions include:

Referral To A Dementia Specialist

Early-Onset Dementia

Dementia can be difficult to diagnose, especially if your symptoms are mild.

If the GP has been able to rule out other causes for your symptoms, they’ll refer you to a healthcare professional who specialises in diagnosing dementia, such as:

  • a psychiatrist with experience of treating dementia
  • a doctor specialising in elderly care
  • a doctor specialising in the brain and nervous system

The specialist may work in a memory clinic with other professionals who are experts in diagnosing, caring for, and advising people with dementia, and their families.

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