The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease at a young age are often attributed to fatigue and stress.
Alzheimer’s and dementia in general are also commonly thought of as diseases affecting the elderly. However, the reality is that, although less common, there is a juvenile form of the disease, which can start to show symptoms as early as around the age of 30.
Although the disease has no cure, early detection is crucial, as early and targeted treatment can improve quality of life and help slow down the deterioration. It is also essential to help family members prepare and cope. The first step is to recognize the warning signs.
Signs of Alzheimer’s disease at a young age
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a neurological disease that involves a gradual deterioration of the brain, destruction of brain cells and shrinkage of the brain. The early form of Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to affect 5-6% of people, with the first symptoms appearing before the age of 65, typically between 30 and 60.
The exact causes of the disease are unclear, and experts do not know why some people develop it much earlier than usual. A family history of the disease may increase the risk of developing the disease. In some people, a gene mutation is found, but not in all cases. The symptoms are similar to those of Alzheimer’s disease in older age, but the important difference is that they are less severe in young people.
Initially, the patient and those around them may experience the following symptoms, among others:
- the person forgets important things, newly acquired information, dates,
- asks for the same information over and over again,
- has difficulty with basic tasks such as following a prescription or remembering bills,
- has problems with remembering dates,
- has difficulty participating in a conversation, can’t find the right words,
- experiences visual disturbances, problems with depth perception,
- puts things away and can’t find them later,
- displays changes in mood and personality, avoids social situations.
As time goes on, the symptoms become more severe, and the memory loss and personality changes become more pronounced. The patient finds it increasingly difficult to get on with the people around him. Family members and friends are also affected.
A healthy lifestyle is a must
Diagnosing early Alzheimer’s can be a challenge, as its warning signs often mislead professionals. Symptoms are often attributed to other conditions such as depression or simply fatigue and chronic stress.
Once the condition has been diagnosed, drug therapy may be necessary, but leading a healthy lifestyle is also very important. This includes a well-formulated diet rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances, regular exercise, and learning relaxation techniques to reduce stress can also help maintain quality of life and slow the progression of the disease.