When most people think of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, they think of men and women over the age of 65. However, over 200,000 people in the United States have what is known as Early Onset Alzheimer's, a form of dementia that can affect adults as young as 30 years old.
Most patients diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's are around 50 years old. The younger you are, the more difficult it may be to receive a proper diagnosis, as doctors generally do not expect to test for Alzheimer’s in patients under 65. While it is not required to have a family history of the disease to develop Alzheimer’s, a large majority of adults with Early Onset have a parent or grandparent who also developed the disease at a young age. Those families have a different type of Alzheimer's known as familial Alzheimer's. This type of Alzheimer's is found in people with a gene mutation that can greatly increase the risk of Alzheimer's and be passed down through generations.
Genetic testing is an option to see if you have these mutations, but everyone should examine the pros and cons of receiving testing. Life insurance, disability access, and more may be affected if you decide to seek out such testing.
If you have a family history of dementia and are experiencing memory loss, location confusion, or any other symptoms listed here, talk to your doctor about your concerns.
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