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How Young Can You Get Alzheimer’s

What Happens After A Diagnosis Of Younger Onset Dementia

Can young people get dementia?

A diagnosis of younger onset dementia can come as a shock. The person affected, and their family and friends may all feel angry or sad. They might not believe it. There can be a huge sense of loss. These feelings are normal.

But help and support is available, and it is better to get it earlier than later.

Younger people with dementia need to think about several issues.

Finding A Huge Gap In Services And Supports For Younger People

âI unfortunately ran into that brick wall where I was ineligible for just about everything because of my age.â â Faye.

Most social programs and services are designed for older people with dementia. In comparison, the number of programs designed for people living with young onset dementia is sparse.

People living with young onset dementia may not find the programs intended for older adults interesting or beneficial in respect to their needs. They may not feel comfortable in a seniorsâ program. And even if they were interested and comfortable in joining a program, they might be ineligible because of their age!

We have a gap in our knowledge about young onset dementia. As a result, there simply aren’t enough information, support, financial aid and services adapted for younger people living with dementia.

However, this is changing. The Young Onset Gap Analysis Project, initiated through the National Information Support and Education Committee and the Alzheimer Society of Canada , explored the gaps of available learning and support resources for people living with young onset dementia, and sought advice and feedback from those with lived experience.

The information from this report is being used to develop new resources dedicated to education and support for people living with young onset dementia, families, caregivers and healthcare providers.

Early Symptoms Of Dementia

Although the early signs vary, common early symptoms of dementia include:

  • memory problems, particularly remembering recent events
  • increasing confusion
  • apathy and withdrawal or depression
  • loss of ability to do everyday tasks.

Sometimes, people fail to recognise that these symptoms indicate that something is wrong. They may mistakenly assume that such behaviour is a normal part of the ageing process. Symptoms may also develop gradually and go unnoticed for a long time. Also, some people may refuse to act, even when they know something is wrong.

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Alzheimers At Age : An Old

The first thing I noticed in my husband were some personality changes.

Ken and I had just recently gotten married and built a house, and we had three children who were then 8, 4, and 3 years old.

Somehow, Ken just seemed different.

One time he called me from a local store because he couldnt remember how to get home. Another time, he went to pick up our kids and ended up going completely in the wrong direction. He was getting headaches. He started forgetting things at work memory problems that eventually led to him losing his job.

I knew something was wrong.

Memory Loss That Impedes Daily Activities

Alzheimer

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.

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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.

Pillar #: Stress Management

Chronic or persistent stress can take a heavy toll on the brain, leading to shrinkage in a key memory area, hampering nerve cell growth, and increasing the risk of Alzheimers disease and dementia. Yet simple stress management tools can minimize its harmful effects and protect your brain.

Breathe! Quiet your stress response with deep, abdominal breathing. Restorative breathing is powerful, simple, and free!

Schedule daily relaxation activities. Keeping stress under control requires regular effort. Learning relaxation techniques such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, or yoga can help you unwind and reverse the damaging effects of stress.

Nourish inner peace. Regular meditation, prayer, reflection, and religious practice may immunize you against the damaging effects of stress.

Make fun a priority. All work and no play is not good for your stress levels or your brain. Make time for leisure activities that bring you joy, whether it be stargazing, playing the piano, or working on your bike.

Keep your sense of humor. This includes the ability to laugh at yourself. The act of laughing helps your body fight stress.

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Improve Your Lifestyle For Alzheimers Prevention

Healthy habits may help ward off Alzheimer’s. Consider the following steps to help prevent Alzheimers.

Exercise. “The most convincing evidence is that physical exercise helps prevent the development of Alzheimer’s or slow the progression in people who have symptoms,” says Dr. Marshall. “The recommendation is 30 minutes of moderately vigorous aerobic exercise, three to four days per week.”

Eat a Mediterranean diet. “This has been shown to help thwart Alzheimer’s or slow its progression. A recent study showed that even partial adherence to such a diet is better than nothing, which is relevant to people who may find it difficult to fully adhere to a new diet,” says Dr. Marshall. The diet includes fresh vegetables and fruits whole grains olive oil nuts legumes fish moderate amounts of poultry, eggs, and dairy moderate amounts of red wine and red meat only sparingly.

Get enough sleep. “Growing evidence suggests that improved sleep can help prevent Alzheimer’s and is linked to greater amyloid clearance from the brain,” says Dr. Marshall. Aim for seven to eight hours per night.

What Causes Younger Onset Dementia

23 Year Old Is Youngest To be Diagnosed With 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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What Are The Early Signs And Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s Disease

Now that we’ve discussed the scientific definitions, let’s turn to the warning signs. According to the experts at the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 10 major early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s to watch out for, and they are as follows:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life, specifically a person affected may need to rely on others for tasks they used to be able to accomplish themselves.
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems. In particular, loss of the ability to follow familiar procedures a person may have been doing for years .
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks, like driving to their local grocery store or understanding the rules of their favorite game.
  • Confusion with time or place. This means not understanding what’s going on if an event isn’t happening immediately, or someone not knowing how they got somewhere.
  • Trouble understanding visual or spatial relationships. More research is pointing to the eyes as a marker for Alzheimer’s in some people, and this may include trouble with balance, reading, or identifying colors.
  • New problems with words in speaking or writing, like not knowing how to continue speaking mid-conversation or having trouble naming a familiar mundane object.
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. This may include putting things in unusual locations.
  • Other Forms Of Dementia Common In Younger People

    Younger people are more susceptible to other, more unusual forms of dementia . Some examples are fronto-temporal dementia , Korsakoffs syndrome and HIV-related dementia.

    Each form of dementia has characteristic symptoms, as well as more general symptoms of dementia. For example, fronto-temporal dementia affects the frontal lobe and/or the temporal parts of the brain, which deal with behaviour, emotional responses and language skills. If this part of the brain is damaged, a person may start to display inappropriate, disinhibited behaviour, such as swearing loudly and often. People with Lewy body dementia may experience visual hallucinations, irregular sleep patterns and falls. If care staff know this sort of information, they are far better equipped to respond to the particular needs of the individuals they are working with.

    Dementia can be more severe in a younger person and is often associated with physical symptoms and rapid progression. This is particularly the case with rare forms of dementia such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and HIV-related dementia.

    To find out more about these and other forms of dementia go to the Alzheimers Society website and see its factsheet on Younger people with dementia.

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    Early Dementia Risk Factors Can Show Up In Teens

    Alcohol abuse topped the list in large study of Swedish men

    HealthDay Reporter

    TUESDAY, Aug. 13 Swedish researchers have identified nine risk factors many occurring during a persons teens that are tied to early onset dementia.

    The good news is that several of these symptoms and behaviors can be prevented or treated, experts noted.

    Early onset dementia occurs before the age of 65. Alcohol abuse was the most important risk factor found in the study, said lead researcher Peter Nordstrom. In contrast, the influence of hereditary factors, that is dementia in the parents, was very small.

    For the study, published online Aug. 12 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, Nordstroms group collected data on men drafted into the Swedish military from mid-1969 through 1979. They were about 18 years old when they were drafted.

    During the follow-up period of roughly 37 years, 487 men developed young-onset dementia at an average age of 54, the researchers found.

    The risk factors identified were multiplicative, most were potentially modifiable and could be traced to adolescence, suggesting excellent opportunities for early prevention, said Nordstrom, from the department of community medicine and rehabilitation at Umea University

    Alcohol intoxication, stroke, use of antipsychotic drugs, depression, drug abuse, a father with dementia, poor mental function as a teen, being short and having high blood pressure were the risk factors they found.

    What Are The Symptoms Of Early

    Alzheimer

    For most people with early-onset Alzheimer disease, the symptoms closely mirror those of other forms of Alzheimer disease.

    Early symptoms:

    • Withdrawal from work and social situations

    • Changes in mood and personality

    Later symptoms:

    • Severe mood swings and behavior changes

    • Deepening confusion about time, place, and life events

    • Suspicions about friends, family, or caregivers

    • Trouble speaking, swallowing, or walking

    • Severe memory loss

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    What Causes Alzheimer Disease

    Lots of research is being done to find out more about the causes of Alzheimer disease. There is no one reason why people get it. Older people are more likely to get it, and the risk increases the older the person gets. In other words, an 85-year-old is more likely to get it than a 65-year-old. And women are more likely to get it than men.

    Researchers also think genes handed down from family members can make a person more likely to get Alzheimer disease. But that doesn’t mean everyone related to someone who has it will get the disease. Other things may make it more likely that someone will get the disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Down syndrome, or having a head injury.

    On the positive side, researchers believe exercise, a healthy diet, and taking steps to keep your mind active may help delay the start of Alzheimer disease.

    The Impact Of Dementia For Younger People And Their Families

    • Although younger people experience similar symptoms to older people with dementia, the impact on their lives is much greater. Younger people are more likely to still be working when they are diagnosed. Many will have significant financial commitments such as a mortgage. They often have children to care for and dependent parents too.
    • Their lives tend to be more active and they have hopes, dreams and ambitions to fulfil up to and beyond their retirement.

    Overview

    Dementia is a collection of symptoms that can occur due to a variety of possible diseases. Dementia symptoms include impairments in thought, communication, and memory.

    If you or your loved one is experiencing memory problems, dont immediately conclude that its dementia. A person needs to have at least two types of impairment that significantly interfere with everyday life to receive a dementia diagnosis.

    In addition to difficulty remembering, the person may also experience impairments in:

    • language
    • reasoning

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    What Are The Causes Of Young

    The causes of young-onset dementia are similar to the diseases that usually cause dementia in older people. However, some causes, such as frontotemporal dementia , are more common in younger people. Dementia in younger people often has different symptoms, even when its caused by the same diseases as in older people.There is more information about some common causes of dementia, and how they can affect younger people, below.

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    Can You Get Alzheimers Disease When Youre Young

    early onset dementia

    We rightly associate Alzheimer’s disease with an older population. Most people who develop this progressive brain disorder are age 65 and older. Currently some 5.5 million Americans–two-thirds of them women–live with the disease. But hidden within that estimate, a smaller number–approximately 200,000 adults–develop the condition under the age of 65. When this happens, it’s called younger-onset or early-onset Alzheimer’s. “Alzheimer’s is just one type of dementia, and given the frequency of early-onset it’s somewhat uncommon,” says H. Rai Kakkar, MD, a neurologist at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver, Colorado.

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    A Crushing Diagnosis: Early

    We went to Kens primary care doctor. He suggested maybe it was depression, but Ken didnt feel depressed. The doctor put him on antidepressants anyway. The symptoms didnt go away. After seven or eight months, I thought, this is getting ridiculous. Thats when we went to see the neurologist who tested Ken and concluded he had early-onset Alzheimers a week before his 30th birthday.

    At first, I thought the doctor was joking. I didnt know people could get Alzheimers so young. But the follow-up PET and CT scans confirmed the diagnosis. We were then told we had just 7 to 10 good years left with Ken. That was six years ago.

    I didnt know a whole lot about Alzheimers. No one in either of our families had ever had it. I was working in hospice as a business coordinator at the time and there were people on my roster who had the disease, but they were old people.

    What Ive learned is that Alzheimers disease is a type of dementia that destroys memory and mental function over time and causes changes in personality and behavior as I saw in Ken. Certain medications and treatments may help manage symptoms like memory loss, but there is no cure. If you get diagnosed when youre younger than 65, like Ken, its called early-onset Alzheimers. My husband is one of about 200,000 Americans who have this form of Alzheimer’s.

    Conditions With Symptoms Similar To Dementia

    Remember that many conditions have symptoms similar to dementia, so it is important not to assume that someone has dementia just because some of the above symptoms are present. Strokes, depression, excessive long-term alcohol consumption, infections, hormonal disorders, nutritional deficiencies and brain tumours can all cause dementia-like symptoms. Many of these conditions can be treated.

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    Young Onset Dementia Facts & Figures

    As with dementia generally, there is conflicting information about the prevalence of young onset dementia. The low levels of awareness and the difficulties of diagnosing the condition at working-age mean popularly used statistics are likely to be inaccurate and do not reflect the true number of people who are affected.

    How Is Alzheimers Disease Treated

    Can you get Alzheimerâs disease when youâre young?

    Medical management can improve quality of life for individuals living with Alzheimers disease and for their caregivers. There is currently no known cure for Alzheimers disease. Treatment addresses several areas:

    • Helping people maintain brain health.
    • Managing behavioral symptoms.
    • Slowing or delaying symptoms of the disease.

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    Can Dementia Be Brought On By Stress

    The current evidence indicates that while prolonged stress may play a role in development or progression of dementia, having chronic stress does not necessarily cause dementia. Hopefully further research can begin to uncover what role, if any, stress does play in a persons risk of developing dementia.

    Will I Get Alzheimer’s

    After hearing all this information, the question we’ve probably all asked ourselves remains: will I get Alzheimer’s?

    The simple answer is that, unfortunately, there’s no real way to tell. There are a number of risk factors that can increase your chances of developing the condition, but it is very rare that these factors will guarantee that you will get Alzheimer’s at some point.

    Much more research is needed into the causes and risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but the good news is that this research is going on right now. The Jackson Laboratory is one such institution leading the charge with cutting edge discoveries, a strong focus on personalized medicine, and our renowned JAX Center for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Research.

    Another institution internationally known for its research and charity is the Alzheimer’s Association. If you are concerned about signs or symptoms of dementia in yourself or a loved one, we recommend turning first to the Alzheimers Association Help & Support page. This page includes a many helpful articles, ways to connect with local support groups, and a 24/7 hotline for any Alzheimers and dementia related questions.

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