Young husband and wife speak about pain of early onset dementia
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The Alzheimer’s Research UK charity warned that symptoms of dementia can be “difficult for people, families and doctors to recognise”. When abnormal proteins start to disrupt the normal functioning of the brain, what do you look out for? Firstly, the person experiencing dementia may encounter “visual problems”. This can make judging distance, speed, or distances more difficult, and the affected person may have trouble with recognising objects.
Secondly, aphasia can develop; this is when the person has difficulty finding the right words to communicate what they want to say.
Another symptom of early-onset Alzheimer’s is when there has been a shift in personality and behaviour.
These changes can be subtle at first, but people with the brain condition may become low in mood, irritable, less confident, and show less interest in activities they once loved.
Depression and anxiety can bring about similar personality changes, so it’s important to seek guidance from a doctor to help get a diagnosis.
Do, however, make the medical professional aware if early-onset dementia is a concern.
People with the brain condition may become confused in unfamiliar situations, said the charity; they may also lose a sense of place and time.
One of the classic signs associated with dementia, memory loss, is also likely to affect the person with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
The key way to determine whether the memory loss is problematic or not is whether it interferes with everyday life.
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“This may include forgetting messages or recent events that would normally be remembered, or repeating questions,” the charity explained.
What causes early-onset Alzheimer’s?
“In the vast majority of cases, the cause is still unclear,” said Alzheimer’s Research UK.
However, it’s likely to be combination of lifestyle and genetic factors.
Risk factors for developing early-onset Alzheimer’s:
- Drinking alcohol
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Unhealthy diet
- High cholesterol
- High blood sugar
Reduce your risk of early on-set Alzheimer’s
If you’d like to do everything in your power to minimise your risk of developing early-onset dementia, it’s best to be a non-smoker.
It’ll also help to drink fewer than 14 units of alcohol per week, and to exercise regularly.
Keeping to a healthy weight by keeping active and eating a healthy diet will also help to reduce your risk of dementia.
“Some studies suggest that an active social life, with lots of interests and hobbies, may also be beneficial,” the charity added.
People who do develop early-onset dementia will benefit from an early diagnosis.
This is to enable treatment with cholinesterase inhibitors, such as donepezil, that can help to relieve some symptoms of the condition.
“The impact of early-onset Alzheimer’s can be significant – people are often working and may have young families,” the charity stated.
For people who would like support, advice, or information, please visit YoungDementia UK.
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