In Still Alice, Julianne Moore played the role of Dr. Alice Howland. She was a linguistics professor, diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.
In the movie, Howland got diagnosed shortly after celebrating her 50th birthday. You could say that’s too young. But there are people in their 30s and 40s who exhibit early onset Alzheimer’s symptoms.
So what is early onset Alzheimer’s? Here’s an overview of the condition and the kind of prognosis patients can expect.
What Is Early Onset Alzheimer’s?
Early onset Alzheimer’s is a rare form of Alzheimer’s. As mentioned earlier, it can strike people in their 30s and 40s.
The sad thing is experts still don’t have the full picture why younger people get early onset AD. But they know that family history is a factor.
There are three genes linked to early onset Alzheimer’s – the APP, PSEN 1 and PSEN 2. Mutation in any of these genes can predispose you to develop Alzheimer’s before you turn 65.
If you want to know if you’re at risk for developing early onset Alzheimer’s, you can go for genetic testing. Should you test positive, you can prepare for it and you could also take part in a research study.
Helping researchers learn more about this condition can help develop new treatments. And this could help other patients who suffer from the condition.
Early Alzheimer’s Symptoms
Let’s say you haven’t gone for genetic testing. But you suspect you or a loved one could have early Alzheimer’s.
There are symptoms you can watch out for. Memory loss is the number one sign. If a person’s more forgetful than normal and needs frequent reminders, it’s time to see a doctor.
Other signs include difficulty planning and solving problems. Losing track of time and places and repetitive conversations are also common signs. Even if you don’t experience all these symptoms, it’s still best to go for a consultation right away.
A cure may not be present at the moment. But getting an early diagnosis can be a big help. Knowing early could influence how you decide important financial and legal matters.
Early Onset Alzheimer’s Life Expectancy
Life expectancy for those with early onset Alzheimer’s is 4 to 6 years after the date of diagnosis. Leading causes of death include pneumonia and malignancy. Heart disease and a general worsening of the disease are also causes of mortality.
Some patients also succumb to frustration and depression after the diagnosis. And this could speed up the disease’s progression. It is important for everyone involved to plan ahead and consider outside help.
Early Onset Alzheimer’s: You Don’t Need to Do it Alone
Now that you know what is early onset Alzheimer’s, you understand how it can affect people of your age. If you or a loved one has early onset Alzheimer’s, don’t lose hope.
There are assisted living facilities that can help. They specialize in caring for those who have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. They can provide resources and activities in ways that family care can’t help.
If you need more information, don’t hesitate to contact us.