Facebook Pixel

Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease Often Misunderstood

By HERWriter
Rate This
early-onset Alzheimers can often be misunderstood PS Productions/PhotoSpin

Usually we think of Alzheimer's disease (AD) as affecting seniors who are on up in years. It's less well-known that 10 percent of people with Alzheimers have the early-onset variety.

Early-onset Alzheimers can strike before 65 years of age. Of the more than 5 million people in the United States, almost 4 percent have early-onset Alzheimers.

Adults who have Down syndrome are prone to early-onset Alzheimers, with symptoms beginning to show in the middle or late 40s, or early 50s. Less commonly, early-onset AD can be seen in people who are only 30-40 years old.

Other people who get early-onset Alzheimer's disease often also have a genetic defect on chromosome 14. This is not the case for people with late-onset Alzheimers.

It can run in families. If either of your parents, or any of your grandparents, for instance, had early-onset Alzheimer's disease, you may be at risk.

Mutations in three genes can be involved. The three genes are the APP, PSEN 1, and PSEN 2. Early-onset Alzheimers is also often linked with myoclonus, which is a form of spasm and muscle twitching.

A diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer's disease can be difficult to determine since each person is affected differently, and can have a variety of symptoms. Symptoms can be wrongly believed to be stress-related, for instance.

It appears at a time of life when things are busy and responsibilities are heavy, with work, raising children and possibly caring for parents with health problems.

Because early-onset Alzheimers is often misdiagnosed, people suffering from AD can run into added troubles. They may lose their jobs, relationships may be damaged, since their medical condition has not been properly identified.

Loss of income because of not being able to function at work compounds the difficulties. Family may not be understanding or supportive about what is going on. Medical benefits and programs for social support are less available for someone with early-onset Alzheimers.

Do you think you or someone you love may have early-onset Alzheimers?

You can see a doctor who specializes in AD for a medical exam, brain imaging, cognitive tests, and a neurological exam.

Add a Comment1 Comments

I believe it is important for children to understand Alzheimer's disease so they can still interact lovingly with family members who have this disease. I am a 17 year old college junior, Alzheimer's researcher, and Alzheimer's advocate.I grew up as a caregiver to my great grandmother who had Alzheimer's disease. After her death, I founded a nonprofit organization that has distributed over 28,000 puzzles to Alzheimer's facilities. Recently, the book I coauthored explaining Alzheimer's disease to children became available on Amazon.My hope was to provide some helpful coping mechanisms to the many children dealing with Alzheimer's disease among their family members. 50 percent of the profits from this book will go to Alzheimer's causes. I think this book could help a lot of children and families. "Why Did Grandma Put Her Underwear in Refrigerator? A Explanation of Alzheimer's Disease for Children." http://amzn.to/13FYYxh

January 30, 2014 - 2:41pm
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Alzheimer's Disease

Get Email Updates

Alzheimer's Disease Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!