Early Alzheimer’s or also known as “presenile dementia”, is a hereditary genetic disease that begins before the age of 65, usually between 30 and 50 years. It is caused by the excess of a protein called tau and amyloid-beta in the brain, specifically in the part responsible for speech and memory.
The disease leads to loss of cognition and the main symptoms are usually failure or loss of memory, as well as mental confusion, aggressiveness and difficulty in performing daily routine activities.
The first symptoms are usually confused with stress and distraction and it is important to beware especially when there is a family history of the disease. Early diagnosis is important so that treatment can be started before the symptoms worsen and it can also be controlled at this early stage.
Alzheimer’s causes cognition loss quickly and for no apparent reason, making the following symptoms visible:
- Forgetfulness of common things, such as whether you had lunch or not.
- Frequent memory failures, such as leaving home and forgetting the way to where you want to go.
- Mental confusion, such as not knowing where you are or what you were doing on site.
- Storing objects in inappropriate places, such as the phone inside the refrigerator.
- Remain silent for long periods in the middle of a conversation.
- Insomnia, difficulty sleeping or various nocturnal awakenings;
- Difficulty in performing simple calculations, such as 3 x 4, or thinking logically.
- Loss of movements, such as difficulty to get up alone.
- Anguish and depression, such as sadness that does not pass and willingness to isolate itself.
- Hypersexuality, and masturbation may occur in public or have inappropriate speeches.
- Excessive irritability by not remembering certain things or not understanding a particular situation.
- Aggression, such as hitting family and friends, throwing things against the wall or floor.
- Apathy, as if nothing else mattered.
At what age does early Alzheimer’s appear?
Early Alzheimer’s appears between 30 and 50 years but this is not the exact age, as it may begin at 27 or 51 years. It is thus recommended that people who have this disease in the family history should beware of the symptoms as they can be confused with stress and distraction.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease appears faster in the elderly and the inability to take care of themselves arises early.
Therefore, if there is the slightest suspicion of having the disease, one should consult the neurologist so as to obtain the correct diagnosis and begin the appropriate treatment. Despite the disease not having a cure, evolution may be delayed.
How to confirm the diagnosis
The diagnosis of early Alzheimer’s is done through evaluation of the signs and symptoms excluding other types of dementia, memory and cognition tests, reporting of the person and the family members and the evidence of cerebra impairment by imaging such as MRI or computer tomography (CT) of the skull.
How treatment is done
Alzheimer’s disease does not have a cure but the neurologist may prescribe remedies such donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine or memantine as to reduce the effects of the signs and symptoms on a person’s life and maintain mental cognitive functions.
Aside from medication which function to reduce the quality of sleep and mood, psychotherapy may also be performed. The doctor may also recommend change of the diet and taking natural foods and doing more physical activities on a daily basis.