Early Onset of Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias

Could I have Alzheimer’s now?

Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease (EOAD)

Individuals with parents who had a gene for Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease are 50% likely to have that same gene passed down to them.

Though Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is not usually diagnosed until the age of 65 or older, it is possible for an individual to have Alzheimer’s disease before this time in his or her life. Once an individual has been diagnosed for Alzheimer’s before the age of 65, this is known, for the individual, as having an Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease (EOAD). Typically, an individual does not have an early onset Alzheimer’s disease unless early onsets of Alzheimer’s have been seen before in the individual’s family. The reason for this connection is due to a genetic factor in which one family member having a gene mutation encoded for early onset Alzheimer’s disease passes down this gene to his or her offspring and then it passes from generation to generation. Therefore, if you know someone in your family with EOAD or who had it, you might want to go get tested to make sure you are aware of whether or not you are at risk of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Even if you do not have an individual in the family with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, it can’t hurt to get a few tests run to see what you might be exposed to in the future.

Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease (EOAD) Subtypes

There are three types of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Each type is derived from a specific gene mutation that exists in the individual’s brain. A list of the three types of EOAD are as follows:

  1. Alzheimer’s disease type one (AD1) is caused by mutations in the gene called APP, which usually corresponds to about 10 to 15% of all early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

  2. Alzheimer’s disease type three (AD3) is caused by mutations in the gene called PSEN1, which usually corresponds to about 30 to 70% of all early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

  3. Alzheimer’s disease type four (AD4) is caused by mutations in the gene called PSEN2, which usually corresponds to about less than 5% of all early onset Alzheimer’s disease. This rare mutation is most seen in the United States, but has also been seen in Italy and Spain.

  4. There have also been very few sited cases of early onset Alzheimer’s disease occurring without these three gene mutations involved, thereby making it possible that there may be other genes that could possibly lead to EOAD.

  5. Alzheimer’s disease type two (AD2) refers to a late onset diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease occurring after the age of 65.

An individual can go through a molecular genetic test to search for the above gene mutations that have found to be associated with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. If successfully diagnosed before Alzheimer’s disease begins to advance, the individual can receive early Alzheimer’s diagnosis treatments to help slow the progression of the disease as well as give the individual and his or her family more time to plan out care services and financial documents.

Diagnosing Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease

If an individual is not diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease solely by genetic testing, another possible way for a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s to be achieved is be the individual fulfilling the symptoms of early onset Alzheimer’s. The most prevalent symptoms for early onset Alzheimer’s disease while being under the age of 65 are:

  1. Dementia, including memory loss and other signs of cognitive behavior difficulties

  2. Social Withdrawal

  3. Agitation and Great Mood Swings for no reason

  4. Hallucinations

  5. Difficulties Speaking and Mutism

  6. Incontinence

The above are just a list of a few of the bigger symptoms of early onset Alzheimer’s disease though many more symptoms do exist. To learn more about EOAD symptoms, the best would be to seek information online or to speak with a medical professional or specialist.

Early Onset Alzheimer’s Treatment

The treatment for EOAD is a process in which the affected individual will need a lot of support. One of the first actions is most likely that the individual with early onset Alzheimer’s disease will be prescribed a medication to help reduce the patient’s symptoms while at the same time delaying the deteriorating process of the brain due to the disease. Secondly, depending on the extremity of the diagnosis, the affected individual will most likely have to be put under the care of a caregiver because the person with early onset Alzheimer’s will eventually, if not already, not be able to care for him or herself. Additionally, occupational and physical therapies may be recommended for the individual, while at the same time staying away from over-sedation and changes in the individual’s environment.

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