Alzheimer’s has been in all the news lately, last month being Alzheimer’s month. It seems that older people are more prone to Alzheimer’s, however, early onset Alzheimer’s proves that incorrect.

Early onset Alzheimer’s?

Early onset Alzheimer’s affects a younger population. Usually Alzheimer’s is found among the 40 to 60  age group. It is less prevalent than the Alzheimer’s in the older people. Around 70 to 80 percent of dementia affected Indians are Alzheimer’s sufferers.  About 5 percent of this can be attributed to early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Among the elderly, patients have problems with memory, dementia, thought process and other brain activities. It is difficult to diagnose, as some symptoms can be common with other disorders like stress. Some symptoms of early onset Alzheimer’s include –

  • Loss of memory. People may not remember recent conversations and may keep repeating things. They may not remember things that happened recently.
  • Difficulty in thinking through and solving problems.
  • Changes in behavior and character. There can be anger, depression, anxiety, apathy or a loss of confidence.
  • Confusion and incomprehension.
  • Trouble connecting vision and action. They have coordination problems and judging speed and distance.
  • Difficulty communicating. There might be difficulty in talking and getting the point across.
  • Eventually, there is a loss of motor function, which makes simple activities like walking and talking a challenge.

In early onset Alzheimer’s the cognition or thinking takes a direct hit. It is affected faster than in older Alzheimer’s patients.

The symptoms get worse as time goes on, this is called progressive symptoms. If young people are affected, it takes a toll on their professional and personal lives. Different people react differently and it is difficult to predict how the disorder will progress. Therefore, it is important to diagnose it as early as possible.

How to deal with it?

The bad news is that there is no cure for Alzheimer’s. Although the progression can be made slower by treating the symptoms, it is impossible to completely cure the disease as of now.

The patients need to be cared for and need lots of support. The family and caregivers need to be extremely patient.  As the condition worsens, patients need constant attention. The symptoms of dementia can be rather frightening and upsetting, however, keeping cool and being mentally prepared is the key. Knowing all about Alzheimer’s and being prepared to face it is imperative.

It is a very difficult disorder to deal with, especially at a younger age. Knowing more about it and taking the doctor’s advice is essential. Above all, accepting it and helping a loved one get through the disorder is challenging albeit necessary.

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