Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. It is the most common form of dementia and can interfere with one’s ability to perform daily activities. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of the aging process. While it is often thought that only elderly people can get Alzheimer’s disease, up to five percent of all cases are in younger people. This is called Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.
Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease causes the same symptoms as traditional Alzheimer’s disease. The main difference is the age of diagnosis. Typically, anyone under the age of 65 who is diagnosed is considered to have early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Most people with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease are in their 40’s and 50’s, but sometimes as early as 30’s. Due to age, it can sometimes take a bit longer for one to be diagnosed as symptoms may not be recognized as Alzheimer’s symptoms. The symptoms closely mirror those of traditional Alzheimer’s such as:
Lack of sleep, stress, and other particular life circumstances can contribute to temporary memory loss but if you start to notice you are much more forgetful than normal, start paying attention and documenting what you have forgotten. If you begin to frequently forget basic things like dates, events, familiar street names, etc. see your doctor and express your concerns.
Difficulty learning new things and problem solving
A sign of early onset Alzheimer’s disease is difficulty learning new things. You may also notice easy confusion when working with numbers and basic problem solving skills may begin to diminish. Simple everyday tasks that require critical thought could take longer or become difficult.
Alzheimer’s disease makes it difficult to retrace your steps and find something that has been misplaced. This can cause confusion and even lead you to believe a loved one is stealing from you. If your loved one is frequently misplacing items and is unable to locate them, this could be a sign of early onset Alzheimer’s.
Withdrawal from social situations
When someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia becomes aware of their loss of ability, they may begin to avoid social situations. This can be from lack in confidence, poor self esteem or even prevention from allowing others to see their lack of ability. General conversation can become difficult. For example, trouble recalling information, forgetting how to complete a sentence, or the need for repetition may make it difficult to communicate.
Some other early symptoms may include:
-Change in personality and mood
-Trouble with vision or depth perception
-Comprehending time (dates, event planning, etc)
-Difficulty in decision making
-Losing track of where you are, how you got there, or why you are there.
While it is not quite clear what causes Alzheimer’s disease, particularly in young people, or how to prevent it, keeping your mind and body healthy is a good precaution. Get regular exercise, eat a healthy diet full of brain-healthy foods, minimize stress and try to cut back or completely avoid alcohol and other items that damage brain cells.
If you or a loved one suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease and are considering more permanent care, we would love the opportunity to tour our facilities and discuss what option is best for you. Contact Camelot Senior Living with any questions or for more information on Alzheimer’s Disease.