Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behaviour.Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks
Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Younger-onset (also known as early-onset) Alzheimer’s affects people younger than age 65.
Who gets early onset Alzheimer’s?
Many people with early onset are in their 40s and 50s. They have families, careers or are even caregivers themselves when Alzheimer’s disease strikes
Diagnosing early onset Alzheimer’s
Since health care providers generally don’t look for Alzheimer’s disease in younger people, getting an accurate diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s can be a long and frustrating process. Symptoms may be incorrectly attributed to stress or there may be conflicting diagnoses from different health care professionals. People who have early onset Alzheimer’s may be in any stage of dementia – early stage, middle stage or late stage. The disease affects each person differently and symptoms will vary.
If you are experiencing memory problems:
Have a comprehensive medical evaluation with a doctor who specializes in Alzheimer’s disease. Getting a diagnosis involves a medical exam and possibly cognitive tests, a neurological exam and/or brain imaging.
Write down symptoms of memory loss or other cognitive difficulties to share with your health care professional.
Keep in mind that there is no one test that confirms Alzheimer’s disease. A diagnosis is only made after a comprehensive medical evaluation.