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How To Determine Early Onset Dementia

Symptoms Of Alzheimers Disease

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

In the early stages the symptoms of Alzheimers disease can be very subtle. However, it often begins with lapses in memory and difficulty in finding the right words for everyday objects.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Apparent loss of enthusiasm for previously enjoyed activities
  • Taking longer to do routine tasks
  • Forgetting well-known people or places
  • Inability to process questions and instructions
  • Deterioration of social skills
  • Emotional unpredictability

Symptoms vary and the disease progresses at a different pace according to the individual and the areas of the brain affected. A persons abilities may fluctuate from day to day, or even within the one day, becoming worse in times of stress, fatigue or ill-health.

Current Practice In Diagnosing Dementia

The remainder of this information will provide an overview of the diagnosis process and a guide to what happens after diagnosis.

It is important to remember that there is no definitive test for diagnosing Alzheimers disease or any of the other common causes of dementia. Findings from a variety of sources and tests must be pooled before a diagnosis can be made, and the process can be complex and time consuming. Even then, uncertainty may still remain, and the diagnosis is often conveyed as possible or probable. Despite this uncertainty, a diagnosis is accurate around 90% of the time.

People with significant memory loss without other symptoms of dementia, such as behaviour or personality changes, may be classified as having a Mild Cognitive Impairment . MCI is a relatively new concept and more research is needed to understand the relation between MCI and later development of dementia. However, MCI does not necessarily lead to dementia and regular monitoring of memory and thinking skills is recommended in individuals with this diagnosis.

Where To Live With Dementia

Eventually, caregiving for someone with dementia wont be appropriate anymore. The needs of a person with progressive dementia become overwhelming, and moving into a full-time residence with trained staff becomes necessary. You should plan for this well before it becomes necessary, by visiting communities and asking the right questions.

Depending on your loved ones stage of illness, different living options are available:

Assisted Living in Early StagesAssisted living residences combine room and board with medical and personal care, and are often sufficient for someone in the early stages of Alzheimers disease or related dementia. Full-time supervision means residents are safe, with living units like private studios or apartments so someone with mild dementia can still feel a sense of independence.

Services offered in assisted living include meals, help with activities of daily living , social activities, and transportation to and from doctors appointments. Before moving in, the residence will assess your loved one to make sure its a good fit.

Memory care residences have physical designs that are appropriate for people with dementia. Someone with Alzheimers, for instance, may become upset when encountering a wall, so memory care buildings have circular hallways. Because people with dementia are prone to wander, memory care residences have increased security and supervision, and special locks on doors.

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When To See A Doctor

Forgetfulness and memory problems dont automatically point to dementia. These are normal parts of aging and can also occur due to other factors, such as fatigue. Still, you shouldnt ignore the symptoms. If you or someone you know is experiencing a number of dementia symptoms that arent improving, talk with a doctor.

They can refer you to a neurologist who can examine you or your loved ones physical and mental health and determine whether the symptoms result from dementia or another cognitive problem. The doctor may order:

  • a complete series of memory and mental tests
  • a neurological exam
  • brain imaging tests

If youre concerned about your forgetfulness and dont already have a neurologist, you can view doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.

Dementia is more common in people over the age of 65, but it can also affect younger people. Early onset of the disease can begin when people are in their 30s, 40s, or 50s. With treatment and early diagnosis, you can slow the progression of the disease and maintain mental function. The treatments may include medications, cognitive training, and therapy.

Possible causes of dementia include:

Addressing Early Onset Alzheimers Symptoms

Having early onset dementia

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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Cortical And Subcortical Dementias

Deficits in certain areas, especially relatively early in the disease, may point to a specific dementia. One of the more widely used categorisations of dementia is into cortical and subcortical forms . Examples of cortical dementias include AD and CJD. The clinical manifestations of cortical dementias include agnosia, spatial disorientation, language problems, apraxia, amnesia, and problems with visuospatial functioning depending on the location of the pathology.

Table 4

A comparison of cortical and subcortical dementia according to neuropsychological profile

Examples of subcortical dementias include Parkinsons disease, Huntingtons disease, vascular dementia, progressive supranuclear palsy, Wilsons disease, and AIDS dementia complex. Patients with a subcortical dementia show slowness and rigidity of thinking often with perseveration. Although forgetful, they do not have a severe amnesia. There is difficulty in planning and sequencing of events and the pattern of cognitive impairment may be similar to that seen in frontal lobe dysfunction.

Some disorders display signs of both a cortical and subcortical dysfunction relatively early in the disease. Examples of cortico-subcortical conditions include cortical dementia with Lewy Bodies and corticobasal degeneration .

Referral To A Dementia Specialist

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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What Are The First Signs Of Early

47 million people around the world suffer from age-related cognitive diseases. According to WHO forecasts, by 2030, this figure will increase up to 75 million people.

However, dementia does not always depend on the factor of aging. Alzheimers is the most common condition among young people that leads to the development of dementia. It accounts for up to 80% of dementia cases.

Unfortunately, there is currently no effective medicine or therapy that could cure dementia. Nevertheless, if you notice the symptoms at an early stage, a simple lifestyle change can significantly slow down the development of the disease. Find out what can cause dementia and take action to prevent its development already now!

Signs Of Mild Alzheimers Disease

early onset dementia

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:

  • Memory loss
  • 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.

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How Does Alzheimers Kill

  • How Does Alzheimers Kill? Center
  • Alzheimers disease is a degenerative disease of the brain, resulting in memory loss, cognitive decline, and personality changes. Alzheimers disease is the most common cause of dementia . People with Alzheimers disease first develop memory loss. As the disease progresses, memory loss worsens and problems with thinking, decision making, reasoning, language, or perception develop.

    In the late stages of Alzheimers, individuals lose their ability to communicate or respond to the environment and require constant care. The brain damage leads to the failure of the bodys organs and functions, including the lungs, heart, and digestion, which can eventually kill the individual. Alzheimers is a disease with no cure, but there are ways to stop or slow its progression with medications and other therapies. These can treat symptoms and improve the quality of life.

    Alzheimers disease can be either of the following:

    • Sporadic Alzheimers disease is the most common form of Alzheimers and occurs after 65 years of age. The affected person does not have any history of the disease in their family members.
    • Familial Alzheimers disease is a rare genetic condition. A person with inherited mutated genes may develop Alzheimers disease when they are of age 40-50 years .

    What Diagnosis Falls Under Alzheimer’s Disease

    Alzheimers disease is a diagnosis in itself. When it is noticeable clinically and identified early on, the formal diagnosis may be Mild Cognitive Impairment due to Alzheimers disease which may later develop into a diagnosis of dementia due to Alzheimers disease.

  • Alzheimers Association. Stages of Alzheimers. Accessed May 27, 2021.
  • National Institute on Aging. Alzheimers Disease Fact Sheet. Content reviewed May 2019. Accessed May 27, 2021.
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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
    • 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.

    Make Everyday Tasks Easier

    The Brain

    This “memory bench” is used by a person living with dementia to organize the things she needs for each day.

    Many people with early-stage dementia continue to manage their everyday activities. But its important to look ahead to a time when performing daily tasks will be harder. The sooner you adopt new strategies to help you cope with changes, the more time you will have to adjust to them. Here are some tips:

    For more suggestions on living independently, see Aging in Place: Growing Older at Home.

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    How Accurate Is It

    This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by licensed healthcare professionals.

    Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns arent legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.

    If you think you or someone you care about may be experiencing symptoms of dementia or any other mental health condition, Psycom.net strongly recommends that you seek help from a mental health professional in order to receive a proper diagnosis and support. For those in crisis, we have compiled a list of resources where you may be able to find additional help at: https://www.psycom.net/get-help-mental-health.

    Frequently Misplacing Items And Not Being Able To Retrace Steps

    Most people will lose items at some time, but they are usually able to locate them again by searching in logical locations and retracing their steps.

    However, someone with Alzheimers disease may forget where they placed an item, especially if they put it in an unusual place. They may also be unable to retrace their steps to find the missing item. This can be distressing and may cause the person to believe that someone is stealing from them.

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    The Start Of The Dying Process

    As someones condition worsens and they get to within a few days or hours of dying, further changes are common. The person will often:

    • deteriorate more quickly than before
    • lose consciousness
    • develop an irregular breathing pattern
    • have cold hands and feet.

    These changes are part of the dying process. Healthcare professionals can explain these changes so you understand what is happening. The person is often unaware of what is happening, and they should not be in pain or distress.

    Medication can be used to treat the persons symptoms. If the person cant swallow, there are other ways of providing this, such as medication patches on the skin, small injections or syringe drivers . Speak to a GP or another health professional about this.

    Need help finding dementia information?

    Find the information and support youre looking for with our free online tool.

    What Diagnosis Falls Under Alzheimers Disease

    Early onset dementia

    Alzheimers disease is a diagnosis in itself. When it is noticeable clinically and identified early on, the formal diagnosis may be Mild Cognitive Impairment due to Alzheimers disease which may later develop into a diagnosis of dementia due to Alzheimers disease.

  • Alzheimers Association. Stages of Alzheimers. Accessed May 27, 2021.
  • National Institute on Aging. Alzheimers Disease Fact Sheet. Content reviewed May 2019. Accessed May 27, 2021.
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    Memory Loss That Impedes Daily Activities

    The most noticeable symptom of Alzheimers disease is often memory loss. A person may start forgetting messages or recent events in a way that is unusual for them. They may repeat questions, having forgotten either the answer or the fact that they already asked.

    It is not uncommon for people to forget things as they get older, but with early onset Alzheimers disease, this happens earlier in life, occurs more often, and seems out of character.

    Is Dementia A Mental Illness

    Dementia is a mental health disorder as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association changed the name to Major Neurocognitive Disorder, which is a mouthful. The change was made in order to provide a clearer description of the problem. Whats most important to know is that dementias can involve changes to emotions, behaviors, perceptions, and movements in addition to memory and thinking.

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    The Financial Implications Of Early

    People with early-onset Alzheimers disease may be facing a daunting financial future, particularly if their job is their main source of income.

    Those who are still working may be eligible for disability benefits or may be able to use benefits offered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage.

    People who need to leave their jobs may be able to retain employer-sponsored healthcare coverage for as long as 36 months under the federal law COBRA.

    The Health Insurance Marketplace in each state, created by the Affordable Care Act , is another option for healthcare coverage. ACA health plans cannot refuse coverage to people with preexisting conditions, meaning no one can be denied insurance because of an Alzheimers diagnosis.

    The Social Security Administration has added early-onset Alzheimers disease to its list of conditions under the Compassionate Allowances initiative.

    This means people younger than 65 who qualify have expedited access to Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.

    Talking with a financial planner who is familiar with elder care or long-term-care planning may be helpful in understanding the choices and taking a proactive approach.

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    A Personal Alarm Built With Dementia In Mind

    9 Unusual Signs Of Early Onset Dementia You Should Watch ...

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    What To Watch For

    Here are some of the warning signs identified by dementia experts and mental health organizations:

    Difficulty with everyday tasks. Everyone makes mistakes, but people with dementia may find it increasingly difficult to do things like keep track of monthly bills or follow a recipe while cooking, the Alzheimers Association says. They also may find it hard to concentrate on tasks, take much longer to do them or have trouble finishing them.

    Repetition. Asking a question over and over or telling the same story about a recent event multiple times are common indicators of mild or moderate Alzheimer’s, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

    Communication problems. Observe if a loved one has trouble joining in conversations or following along with them, stops abruptly in the middle of a thought or struggles to think of words or the name of objects.

    Getting lost. People with dementia may have difficulty with visual and spatial abilities. That can manifest itself in problems like getting lost while driving, according to the Mayo Clinic.

    Personality changes. A loved one who begins acting unusually anxious, confused, fearful or suspicious becomes upset easily or loses interest in activities and seems depressed is cause for concern.

    Troubling behavior. If your family member seems to have increasingly poor judgment when handling money or neglects grooming and cleanliness, pay attention.

    People with mild cognitive impairment are at an increased risk of developing dementia.

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