Progressing through life comes with its own set of age-related conditions. Whether it’s you or your loved ones, the transition could mean moving to a new community or seeking out memory support for your loved one.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of those age-related conditions that can present itself. Let’s look at what Alzheimer’s disease is and if early-onset Alzheimer’s progresses faster.
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the brain, causing it to shrink and brain cells to die. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia—a continuous decline in thinking, behavioral and social skills that can limit a person’s ability to function independently.
There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s as of yet, but treatment can help slow the progression of the disease and temporarily improve quality of life. While anyone can get Alzheimer’s disease, people over the age of 65 and those with a family history of the condition are at a higher risk.
Everyone can deal with moments of forgetfulness, but people with Alzheimer’s disease display certain ongoing behaviors and symptoms to look out for, which include:
- Memory loss affecting daily activities
- Trouble with familiar tasks
- Difficulties with problem-solving
- Trouble with speech or writing
- Decreased personal hygiene
- Mood and personality changes
While these signs are linked to Alzheimer’s, it’s essential to see a doctor and determine the cause.
Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease
Diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease involves your doctor conducting examinations and tests to assess your loved one’s mental abilities, diagnose dementia, and rule out other conditions to narrow down the diagnosis.
Your doctor will inquire about your medical history and ask about your:
- Family medical history
- Other current or past health conditions
- Current or past medications
- Diet, alcohol intake, and other lifestyle habits
The process of diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease requires several tests and can be a lengthy process.
Now that you know what Alzheimer’s disease is and the diagnosis process let’s look at early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and if it progresses faster.
Early Onset Alzheimer’s Progression
When you think about Alzheimer’s disease, you usually link it with older adults in their 60s. It’s rare for early-onset Alzheimer’s to develop in younger people in their 30s or 40s and more commonly affects people in their 50s.
The causes of early-onset Alzheimer’s are largely unknown. Some people who experience it have the condition due to genetic causes. However, the research has not been able to identify the genes that determine or increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
The symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s mirror other forms of Alzheimer’s—some signs and symptoms include:
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing
- Frequently misplacing things
- Getting lost going to familiar places
- Losing track of the day, date, time, or year
- Mood and personality changes
- Withdrawing from work and other social situations
If you’re 65 or younger, experiencing these kinds of changes should prompt a visit to your doctor to undergo further medical testing.
When early-onset Alzheimer’s disease appears in younger people and requires extra care, this can create the impression that the disease has progressed faster. Early-onset Alzheimer’s does not progress faster through the phases—it progresses over several years, similar to adults older than 65 who are dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.
While early-onset Alzheimer’s doesn’t progress faster, it’s essential to plan ahead and take some steps to plan for your impacted financial and legal plans.
Some steps you can take include:
- Seeking out a community for those with Alzheimer’s
- Leaning on friends and family for support
- Engaging in financial planning for your loved ones’ future
Along with these steps, there are some therapies that can help manage early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, including:
- Staying physically active
- Cognitive training
- Herbs and supplements
- Reducing stress
- Staying connected with friends and family
Putting your loved ones in the best position to increase their quality of life is vital, whether it’s with early-onset Alzheimer’s in a younger adult or Alzheimer’s disease in an older adult. That can mean transitioning to a new community or switching up their lifestyle and getting them the right type of care.
Managing Alzheimer’s Disease
The management of Alzheimer’s disease and early-onset Alzheimer’s is about providing your loved ones with the support and care they need. Diagnosing and accepting Alzheimer’s is the first step. Finding the right community can increase your quality of life while dealing with the condition.
Schedule a visit with a professional today to learn more about memory support and find your loved one the ideal community.