According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) affects more than 5 millionpeople in the United States.
Although it’s known to affect adults 65 years and older, up to 5 percent of those diagnosed have early onset AD. This generally means that the person diagnosed is in their 40s or 50s.
It can be difficult to obtain a true diagnosis at this age because many symptoms may appear to be a result of typical life events such as stress.
As the disease affects the brain, it can cause a decline in memory, reasoning, and thinking abilities. The decline is typically slow, but this can vary on a case-by-case basis.
What are the symptoms of early onset Alzheimer’s disease?
AD is the most common form of dementia. Dementia is a general term for the loss of memory functions or other mental abilities that affect your daily life. You or a loved one may be developing early onset AD if you experience any of the following:
You or a loved one may begin to appear more forgetful than normal. Forgetting important dates or events can occur. If questions become repetitive and frequent reminders are required, you should see your doctor.
Difficulty planning and solving problems
AD may become more apparent if you or a loved one has difficulty developing and following a plan of action. Working with numbers may also become difficult.
This can often be seen when you or a family member begins to demonstrate problems maintaining monthly bills or a checkbook.
Difficulty completing familiar tasks
Some people may experience a greater problem with concentration. Routine day-to-day tasks requiring critical thought may take longer as the disease progresses.
The ability to drive safely may also be called into question. If you or a loved one gets lost while driving a commonly traveled route, this may be a symptom of AD.
Difficulty determining time or place
Losing track of dates and misunderstanding the passage of time as it occurs are also two common symptoms. Planning for future events can become difficult since they aren’t immediately occurring.
As symptoms progress, people with AD can become increasingly forgetful about where they are, how they got there, or why they’re there.
Vision problems can also occur. This may be as simple as an increased difficulty in reading. You or a loved one may also begin to have problems judging distance and determining contrast or color when driving.