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What Is Early Onset Dementia

Your Behaviors & Moods Have Changed

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

While it’s totally normal to experience mood changes throughout the day, a major shift in your personality can be a sign of early-onset dementia. And this is something you may pick up on, or it may be pointed out by a friend.

As Dr. Tawwab says, “A significant shift in personality, like shy to outgoing, can represent a decrease in awareness of inhibitions,” which can be a sign of dementia-related changes in the brain. Usually, this is due to the loss of neurons, and the type of behavioral change involved can depend on the part of the brain affected.

When the frontal lobe is impacted, for example, a person might experience changes in their ability to focus or pay attention, since that’s the area responsible for those actions.

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  • lack of social awareness  making inappropriate jokes or showing a lack of tact, though some people may become very withdrawn and apathetic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.

Symptoms In The Later Stages Of Dementia

As dementia progresses, memory loss and difficulties with communication often become severe. In the later stages, the person is likely to neglect their own health, and require constant care and attention.

The most common symptoms of advanced dementia include:

  • memory problems people may not recognise close family and friends, or remember where they live or where they are
  • communication problems  some people may eventually lose the ability to speak altogether. Using non-verbal means of communication, such as facial expressions, touch and gestures, can help
  • mobility problems many people become less able to move about unaided. Some may eventually become unable to walk and require a wheelchair or be confined to bed
  • behavioural problems  a significant number of people will develop what are known as “behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia”. These may include increased agitation, depressive symptoms, anxiety, wandering, aggression, or sometimes hallucinations
  • bladder incontinence is common in the later stages of dementia, and some people will also experience bowel incontinence
  • appetite and weight loss problems are both common in advanced dementia. Many people have trouble eating or swallowing, and this can lead to choking, chest infections and other problems. Alzheimer’s Society has a useful factsheet on eating and drinking

Understanding Early Onset Dementia

Some chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association are beginning to use the name younger-onset dementia instead of early-onset dementia. Members of the association state there can be confusion for families hearing the diagnosis of early-onset dementia. âEarly onset” does not refer to the stage of the disease; it refers to the age at which a person is diagnosed with dementia.

Preventing Early Onset Dementia: Alzheimers Support Through Integrative Medicine

eNewsletter February 2015

Cognitive health is driven by a diverse set of genetic, environmental, dietary, and lifestyle factors. Even though getting older is inevitable, the cognitive decline associated with aging is not.

Integrative medicine can help people living with a variety of conditions. We provide the tools to identify and address your risk factors for early onset dementia, and help you become proactive about Alzheimers and dementia prevention. For more information, visit our medical and wellness blog. Think of it as a virtual community of dementia care services.

If this article makes you think twice about your recent bouts of forgetfulness, learn about what we can do for you. 

Schedule an appointment with CentreSpringMD to evaluate your cognitive risk, and optimize brain health. You can get home health care with our virtual visits. Get the Alzheimers support you deserve.

Why Are Cases Of Early Onset Dementia And Alzheimers Increasing

In the U.S., its estimated that about 200,000 people have early onset dementia, either early-, middle- or late-stage dementia. Alzheimers diagnosis rates increased 200% between 2013 and 2017 in people aged 30 to 64. This resulted in the average age of 49 in someone living with the early onset of this neurodegenerative condition .

Early onset dementia is a difficult road because many patients often have families to provide for, and are frequently caregivers themselves to someone living with chronic illness. Alzheimers and dementia also disproportionately impact women more so than men. Its clear that proper  Alzheimers support can help anyone cope with these difficulties.

The Quiet Early Signs Of Dementia And What You Can Do About Them

Research suggests there could be a link between hearing loss and Alzheimers here are other symptoms to look out for

One of the key ways to lower your risk of getting dementia is by looking out for this early signs that signal the syndrome which is related to the ongoing decline of the brain’s functions.

Its well known that memory loss and confusion are a sign of dementia. But scientists are discovering that other subtle and perhaps surprising signs can herald the onset of the disease.

What Is Young Onset Dementia

Dementia is considered young onset when it affects people under 65 years of age.  It is also referred to as early onset or working age dementia.  However this is an arbitrary age distinction which is becoming less relevant as increasingly services are realigned to focus on the person and the impact of the condition, not the age. 

Dementia is a degeneration of the brain that causes a progressive decline in peoples ability to think, reason, communicate and remember.  Their personality, behaviour and mood can also be affected.  Everyone’s experience of dementia is unique and the progression of the condition varies.  Some symptoms are more likely to occur with certain types of dementia.

Dementias that affect younger people can be rare and difficult to recognise.  People can also be very reluctant to accept there is anything wrong when they are otherwise fit and well, and they may put off visiting their doctor.

I like to push things, do things that are scary – it makes me realise how alive I am.

– Ken, diagnosed in his mid-50s with Alzheimer’s disease

What Causes Frontotemporal Dementia

Younger onset dementia (early onset dementia)

Researchers have not identified a single cause for this type of dementia, but they have some ideas. Some peoples brains develop abnormal protein structures, called Pick bodies.

Researchers have also identified abnormal proteins that may play a role. These proteins, found in brain cells of individuals who died with dementia, may affect how the brain works. Researchers dont know why these proteins develop or how to prevent them.

What Are The Risk Factors For Frontotemporal Dementia

Frontotemporal dementia has one known risk factor: genetics. Scientists have found several genes related to the disease. If one of your family members is diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, you have a greater risk.

However, not everyone with a family history will develop a problem. Its also estimated that more than half of the individuals diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia dont have a family history associated with the disease.

Doctors cant diagnose frontotemporal dementia with a single test. Instead, your doctors will try to rule out other conditions or diseases that cause similar symptoms.

Some of the tests used to diagnose frontotemporal dementia include:

  • blood tests: These can help identify other possible causes.
  • neuropsychological testing: These tests check your judgment and memory skills, and help determine what type of dementia you may have.
  • brain imaging: Doctors will check for tumors or blood clots.
  • MRI: A magnetic resonance imaging test gives doctors a detailed image of your brain.
  • CT scan: A computerized tomography scan creates images of your brain in layers.

Frontotemporal dementia cannot be cured. Treatment is aimed at managing and alleviating symptoms.

Common treatments include:

About Early Onset Dementia

There is a wider range of diseases that cause early-onset dementia and a younger person is much more likely to have a rarer form of dementia. Alzheimers disease is the most common form of early onset dementia. Other forms are vascular dementia, frontal-temporal dementia, Lewy bodies dementia and Korsakoffs syndrome, which is alcohol related dementia.

People with other conditions, such as Parkinsons disease, multiple sclerosis, Huntingtons disease or HIV and AIDS, may also develop early onset dementia as part of their illness. Also, people with Downs syndrome and other learning disabilities can develop dementia at an early age.

Younger people with dementia experience a range of challenges, which are often different to those that older people face. Younger people are less likely to experience memory loss as one of their early symptoms and may experience changes in behaviour, vision or language first.

There are many things you can do day to day to help you live as well as possible. to read more about practical steps you can take each day. Its important to continue doing things you enjoy. Try to keep things as normal as possible, making changes when you need to. It can help to make the most of every day.

First Steps – its good to talk about Dementia

You Keep Getting Lost

The confusion associated with dementia can cause you to feel lost more often, possibly while on your way somewhere new. But it can even happen when heading somewhere you’ve been dozens of times.For example, as Dr. Schreiber says, “you may find that you are using your GPS to go to places that you knew how to get to previously.”

Of course, we all get turned around on occasion, so you won’t want to assume you have dementia just because you get lost while out driving or walking. And the same is true if you’ve always been bad with directions, or simply prefer sticking to a beaten path.

If you develop a new sense of disorientation, however, or find yourself getting lost on familiar roads, let a doctor know.

The Stigma Of Young Onset Dementia

11 Weird Signs Of Early Onset Dementia To Watch Out For ...

Because dementia is so strongly associated with older people, younger people can feel extra stigma and discrimination. A younger person may not be believed when they say they have been diagnosed with dementia. This attitude can add to a persons problems. For example, one woman with dementia reported being laughed at when she told others she had dementia . Another woman with dementia who talks to medical students about her condition as part of their training says, The first barrier you meet is that people dont believe that you can have dementia if you can still function. To others, these women seemed too young and too well to have dementia, and so they did not get the courtesy and respect they deserved. Later, a younger person may feel and look out of place in a care home where most other people are in their 80s and 90s.

Terry Pratchett talks about the stigma of a dementia diagnosis in a video from the Alzheimers Society.

You’ve Been Experiencing Memory Changes

If you’re developing dementia, one of the first symptoms you might experience is a change in your ability to remember things, which might include forgetting what you just got up to do, or losing your train of thought mid-sentence.

“Signs of early-onset dementia include short-term memory changes, often described as an ‘inability to keep a thought in your head,'”Dr. Faisal Tawwab, MD, tells Bustle. So, if your words escape you, or you’ve suddenly become super forgetful, take note.

Epidemiology Of Early Onset Dementia And Its Clinical Presentations In The Province Of Modena Italy

U.O. di Neurologia, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria di Modena, Modena, Italy

Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche, Metaboliche e Neuroscienze, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy

Centro Interdipartimentale di Neuroscienze e Neurotecnologie, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy

Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche, Metaboliche e Neuroscienze, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy

Centro Interdipartimentale di Neuroscienze e Neurotecnologie, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy

Dipartimento di cure primarie, AUSL Modena, Modena, Italy

NeuroFARBA, Dipartimento di Neuroscienze, Psicologia, Area del Farmaco e Salute del Bambino, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy

U.O. di Neurologia, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria di Modena, Modena, Italy

Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche, Metaboliche e Neuroscienze, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy

Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche, Metaboliche e Neuroscienze, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy

Centro Interdipartimentale di Neuroscienze e Neurotecnologie, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy

U.O. di Neurologia, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria di Modena, Modena, Italy

Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche, Metaboliche e Neuroscienze, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy

Centro Interdipartimentale di Neuroscienze e Neurotecnologie, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy


Early Onset Dementia Is On The Rise: Heres Why And How To Protect Your Brain With Alzheimers Support

Most of us accept forgetfulness and memory loss as parts of the normal aging process. Although, you or a loved one may need Alzheimers support. What happens when changes in mood and memory begin to happen as early as your 30s or 40s?

Early onset dementia is a decline in cognitive function beginning early in life.It is becoming a reality for an increasing amount of younger people.

Today youll learn what early onset dementia is, what causes it, and what steps you can take today to protect the health of your brain.

You Struggle To Recall What You Just Read

Early Onset or Younger Onset Dementia p4

Most dementia symptoms will have an affect on your memory, in some way, shape, or form. So it makes sense it can impact your ability to read â and remember what you just read â as well.

As Zerling says, many people with early-onset dementia find that they need to start taking notes while they’re reading, in order to remember what’s going on in the story.

Taking notes, of course, can be a good way to keep track or information, especially if you’re studying. And thus it isn’t a surefire sign of dementia. But if your note-taking is due to a newly developed memory problem, it may a symptom worth looking into.

The Needs Of People Affected By Young Onset Dementia

People living with young onset dementia and their family members state that they need:

  • early recognition of the signs and symptoms suggestive of dementia
  • accurate and timely diagnosis
  • awareness of their condition, especially from health and social care professionals
  • specialist information at the time of diagnosis
  • identification of a person who specialises in young onset dementia to support them and their family to work on a support plan to meet their needs
  • better communication between agencies
  • access to a specialist helpline
  • support around employment issues
  • emotional support and relationship counselling
  • age-appropriate information, advice and support to stay active and maintain independence
  • age-appropriate meaningful occupation and activities
  • to feel connected to others
  • peer support groups
  • support to retain a life beyond caring

Early recognition and timely accurate diagnosis of dementia, combined with appropriate specialist support, can reduce the distress experienced by the person with young onset dementia and their family.

If you have any cause for concern, it is a good idea to make an appointment to see a doctor. Seeing a doctor early on can reduce anxiety and worry and provide you with answers.

You Suddenly Despise Any Kind Of Change

When dementia sufferers are experiencing confusion and memory changes, it’s common for them to stick to a strict routine, as a way to coping and feeling safer.

That’s why, as Dr. Scott Schreiber tells Bustle, a lack of desire to try something new, or to deviate from your usual path, may be a sign of memory changes.

This might take the form of sticking to the same route on your way to work, or taking the same streets to get to the grocery store. But it’s not just about the routine â since many people have a preferred way of getting places â but the reasons why you’re always following the same path.

If you get confused when going another way, for example, or feel incredibly disoriented when deviating from your usual path, there’s a chance it’s an early warning sign of dementia.

What Are The Symptoms Of Early

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

Talking With A Doctor

Early Onset Dementia: 4 Different Journeyâs with Early ...

After considering the persons symptoms and ordering screening tests, the doctor may offer a preliminary diagnosis or refer the person to a Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service clinic, neurologist, geriatrician or psychiatrist.Some people may be resistant to the idea of visiting a doctor. In some cases, people do not realise, or else they deny, that there is anything wrong with them. This can be due to the brain changes of dementia that interfere with the ability to recognise or appreciate the changes occurring. Others have an insight of the changes, but may be afraid of having their fears confirmed.One of the most effective ways to overcome this problem is to find another reason for a visit to the doctor. Perhaps suggest a check-up for a symptom that the person is willing to acknowledge, such as blood pressure, or suggest a review of a long-term condition or medication.Another way is to suggest that it is time for both of you to have a physical check-up. Any expressed anxiety by the person is an excellent opportunity to suggest a visit to the doctor. Be sure to provide a lot of reassurance. A calm, caring attitude at this time can help overcome the person’s very real worries and fears.Sometimes, your friend or family member may refuse to visit the doctor to ask about their symptoms. You can take a number of actions to get support including:

  • talking with other carers who may have had to deal with similar situations
  • contacting your local Aged Care Assessment Team

You Can’t Remember Anyone’s Name

Recalling information is another issue many people with dementia can struggle with, so consider it a red flag if you can no longer remember people’s names.

“When at a social gathering, you forget names of people you just met,” Dr. Schreiber says. Or you might not be able to remember a friend’s name when telling a story.

If you’ve always been bad with names then this shouldn’t be a cause for concern. But if you find yourself blanking on a more regular basis, it may be time to get yourself checked.

Stage 2: Age Associated Memory Impairment

This stage features occasional lapses of memory most frequently seen in:

  • Forgetting where one has placed an object
  • Forgetting names that were once very familiar

Oftentimes, this mild decline in memory is merely normal age-related cognitive decline, but it can also be one of the earliest signs of degenerative dementia. At this stage, signs are still virtually undetectable through clinical testing. Concern for early onset of dementia should arise with respect to other symptoms.

How Do I Treat Early

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:

The Effects Of Being Diagnosed At A Young Age

Early onset vascular dementia – A daughter’s perspective – My mum has dementia

The personal and social consequences of young onset dementia can be much different than those experienced by people diagnosed with dementia later in life.

People living with young onset dementia are often still working at the time of diagnosis, are physically fit, and may have dependent children or parents at home. They may have major financial commitments, like a mortgage or student loan, that they are looking to pay off. 

The diagnosis of dementia, and the changes it will bring, can only increase the stress of handling these responsibilities. With dementia now in the mix, it’s natural for a younger person just diagnosed with dementia to think, “What’s next!?” and worry about how they can meet handling their responsibilities.

Dementias Caused By Neurodegeneration Of The Non

Various neurodegenerative diseases in presenile age, namely frontotemporal lobar degeneration, PSP, and corticobasal degeneration, cause widespread cerebral degeneration.

Frontotemporal lobar degenerations, such as Pick disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration with motor neuron disease, frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 , dementia lacking distinct histology , and dementia with neurofilament inclusions, cause characteristic clinical features of frontotemporal dementia.

The early clinical features of frontotemporal lobar degeneration are changes in personality and social behavior rather than impaired cognition. With progression of the disease, impairment of cognitive functions, including memory, becomes obvious and slowly increases in severity. Stereotypical speech, with prominent reduction of vocabulary, occurs in the advanced stage of the illness. Semantic dementia and progressive non-fluent aphasia are characteristic clinical symptoms of frontotemporal dementia.

Pathologically, Pick disease is characterized by massive neuronal loss and microvacuolation, which cause a circumscribed atrophy in the frontal and temporal lobes. Cytoplasmic argentophilic inclusions, namely Pick bodies consisting of 3-repeat tau-positive fibrils, are accepted as one of the diagnostic features of this disease.

Toxic Burden And Brain Health

Due to increased toxic burden from endocrine disrupting compounds, heavy metals, and other environmental contaminants, the bodys natural detox pathways have a significant amount of unwanted substances to properly metabolize and eliminate from the body. 

If you have reduced methylation status, it can be even harder for your body to get rid of toxins, and this can cause things like heavy metals or other neurological toxins to interfere with brain health.

Risk Factors For Early

Approximately 12% of cases of early-onset Alzheimers are due to a rare genetic mutation leading to an inherited form of the disease called familial Alzheimers. Individuals with Downs syndrome are also more likely to develop early-onset Alzheimers since the chromosome associated with the syndrome also carries the gene for amyloid .

A small percentage of early-onset dementia cases can be linked to a genetic form of vascular dementia or damage to the frontal lobes of the brain that control language, emotions, and behavior.

Younger people are believed to develop rarer forms of dementia at a much higher rate than older adults. As many as 25% of early-onset dementia cases are believed to be due to rarer causes, including degenerative neurological conditions like Huntingtons disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

What Differences Are There To Late Onset Dementia

Living with Early

When compared to older people, younger people affected by dementia are more likely to:

  • have a rarer form of dementia affecting behaviour and social functioning
  • have a familial/inherited form of dementia
  • report significantly higher psychological and physical distress
  • experience employment issues
  • have significant financial commitments such as a mortgage
  • have a younger and more dependent family
  • have additional caring responsibility for parents

There are differences in the types of dementia commonly diagnosed in younger people with dementia compared to those of an older age. For example, only about a third of dementias diagnosed in younger people are of the Alzheimers type in comparison to about 60% in the older age group. For more information visit our facts and figures page.

Alzheimer’s Disease With Early Onset

Alzheimer’s disease was originally classified as a presenile dementia. Since the 1980s, senile dementia of the Alzheimer type and Alzheimer’s disease have been considered to belong to the same pathological entity and both conditions are now known as dementia of the Alzheimer’s type or merely Alzheimer’s disease.

Rapid progression of cognitive impairment with neuropsychological syndromes and neurological symptoms, like spastic pyramidal signs, myoclonia, and convulsions, have been considered characteristic of early onset AD. However, it was reported recently that the spastic paraparesis, seizures, and myoclonic convulsions do not always occur in early onset AD, although language problems and visuospatial dysfunction are common. Delusional symptoms are less frequent in early onset AD.

Recent studies have shown that there is more severe gray matter loss and more profound changes of neuritic plaques and tangles in patients with early onset AD. Neuroimaging investigations using voxel-based morphometry also revealed that patients with early onset AD exhibited a more severe reduction of gray matter in the bilateral parietal and posterior cingulate cortices and precuneus region. Atrophy in the precuneus was reported to be more prominent in patients with a younger age of onset. On positron emission tomography, patients with early onset AD show more prominent hypometabolism in the frontal, temporal, and parietal regions compared with cases with late onset AD.


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