early-onset Alzheimer's disease

Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease: When Symptoms Appear Before 65

Alzheimer’s disease is known to affect the elderly population. But in some rare instances, early-onset Alzheimer’s can occur in some people and it could mean a lifetime of a burden on the individual, his family, and of course, the finances.

At some point, the need for memory assisted living also becomes inevitable. But what exactly is early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and how can one cope from it?


Understanding early-onset Alzheimer’s and its causes

Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is a rare form of dementia that affects people under the age of 65. It is very uncommon that only 5% of people diagnosed with the disease develop symptoms in middle age or between 30 and 60 years old.

Individuals affected with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease usually have its most common form, which is called sporadic Alzheimer’s. According to experts, this type of Alzheimer’s is caused by genetics, although still yet to find out why it affects people at a younger age.

Some patients are also diagnosed with familial Alzheimer’s disease, which means that they have a parent or grandparent that was diagnosed with the same type of early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Studies suggest that familial Alzheimer’s is linked to three types of genes: APP, PSEN 1, and PSEN 2. They are different from APOE, which is a gene that is said to increase your risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

These three genes together can only be found in less than 1% of Alzheimer’s patients but they are present in 11% of those with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

This is why some people choose to undergo genetic testing to see if there are any mutations of these genes, but genetic counseling should also be done first to make sure that the patient knows about the pros and cons of genetic testing.


Coping with early-onset Alzheimer’s

Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at an early age can be a huge blow to anyone, especially with the possibility of discrimination because some people won’t believe that they have the disease. This is why it’s very important to give these individuals all the care and support they need to get through.

For instance, an individual may still be able to work, but he may need to switch to a position that will allow him to function with his growing limitations.

Some employers may even reduce the number of hours that the individual needs to work or even allow him to take time off to adjust more to his new condition and seek the treatments that he needs.

Finally, financial challenges should be discussed between the family, especially when the time comes that the individual would be required to go to memory assisted living.

Exploring benefits provided by Medicare or Medicaid, organizing financial documents ahead, discussing the possibility of early retirement, and talking with a financial planner will help ease the financial burden of the disease while making sure that the patient is given the best quality of life possible.


Fallbrook Assisted Living is proud to offer its services to Fremont, NE, and surrounding areas and cities: Arlington, Cedar Bluffs, Ames Nickerson, Fontanelle, Arlington, Leshara, Colon, and Hooper

Nursing Homes

What Happens to Your Body When You Have Alzheimer’s Disease?

The growing number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease is becoming a cause for concern in a lot of countries. In fact, more than 44 million people around the world already live with the condition with at least 5.5 million Americans being affected by it.

Alzheimer’s disease is even the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, killing more patients than prostate and breast cancer combined.

But while memory loss is the biggest symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, the body actually goes through a lot of other changes as the disease progresses.


Memory gaps

Medical experts are still baffled by what exactly causes Alzheimer’s disease, but they believe that the disease begins with the buildup of tau and amyloid proteins in the brain.

As these proteins accumulate, they begin to form clumps called plaques and tangles, which kill healthy cells and affect normal brain function.

When this happens, the part of the brain that forms memories start to get damaged, which is why the memory gap is one of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease, although most individuals will still not opt to go to Alzheimer’s care facilities just because they can’t remember things.


Physical changes

As the disease continues to progress, the plaques and clusters will begin to affect parts of the brain responsible for bodily functions. This is why daily activities like eating, walking, taking a bath, and even talking will start to become harder to do.

Some of the most common physical changes that individuals with Alzheimer’s disease may experience include:

  • Muscle stiffness
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Difficulty standing up or sitting on a chair
  • Muscle weakness and fatigue
  • Shuffling or dragging feet when walking
  • Difficulty controlling the bladder and bowel
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Uncontrollable twitches and seizures

According to a study, individuals who had a poor balance or those who walked slowly were most likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease within the next six years.

These symptoms can also vary from person to person and their severity could also be different. For instance, some patients will manifest physical changes first before they experience memory loss. Others will also experience only a few of these symptoms in their lifetime.

The average life expectancy of a person with Alzheimer’s disease is about 4 to 8 years, but some have lived for up to 20 years after they were diagnosed with the disease.


The bottom line

There are still a lot of challenges in offering patients the best Alzheimer’s care possible. Good thing, Alzheimer’s care facilities are doing their best to make sure that patients suffering from the disease are given the care and guidance that they need while still providing them with as much independence as possible.

With the growing elderly population in the coming years, the need for these Alzheimer’s care facilities will surely grow even more to make sure that these patients are given the best quality of life possible even if their condition can’t be cured.


Fallbrook Assisted Living is proud to offer its services to Fremont, NE, and surrounding areas and cities: Arlington, Cedar Bluffs, Ames Nickerson, Fontanelle, Arlington, Leshara, Colon, and Hooper