Early Onset Alzheimer’s Symptoms: What You Need To Know
When one thinks of Alzheimer’s disease, many can indicate symptoms and factors that are present in the highly developed dementia or in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, including memory loss and profound impairment on the implementation of the daily life of a person diagnosed with it. It is highly important, however, to detect the disease at its earliest stages in order to intervene and prevent the further growth and the development of the deterioration of the brain dementia. In recent advancements made in Alzheimer’s disease one can hear the phrase “pre-clinical Alzheimer’s” a lot more often due to the fact that scientists and researchers worldwide are trying to find a way to prevent the disease, cure it or, at least, stop it from progressing into later, much more severe stages. In order to do that, people need to be able to identify the early onset Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Nowadays, modern technology is able to detect Alzheimer’s symptoms in its early stages due to the fact that the disease is mostly shown by neuritic plaques, neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) and amyloid plaques. According to Thal, “These lesions occur not only in demented individuals with AD but also in non-demented persons.” He says that people who have not developed dementia, have these neuritic and amyloid plaques along with NFT’s and that is how early or ‘pre-clinical’ Alzheimer’s is represented. Even though these plaques and NFT’s are detected with various tests, not everybody will get tested for them. So what are some early onset Alzheimer’s symptoms that are detectable without the use of any special technology?
There are certain early onset Alzheimer’s symptoms that could be indicated and visible by a naked eye and it is important to keep those in mind in order to be able to catch it in time before it progresses into later stages. The disease is, of course, also, much more prone to treatment in earlier stages. In fact, certain body and mind exercises have been shown to be effective in the fight against Alzheimer’s.
According to Alzheimer’s Association the disease progresses in three stages:
- Early/mild: a person still functions independently but may experience memory lapses, forgetting familiar things. An individual is still able to participate in every day activities.
- Moderate(the middle stage): The longest stage. Symptoms are very noticeable to other people: forgetfulness, confusion, feeling lost and risk of getting lost. Needs a lot of care.
- Severe (the last stage): no response to the surrounding environment, full-time care, changes in physical abilities (walking, sitting, swallowing), trouble communicating.
Of course, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s become worse and worse the longer the disease progresses, which is why it is so important to catch it in the early, first stages in order to prevent further damage. Brain changes begin a long time before actual behavior and psychological symptoms that are visible to outsiders occur, which only adds to the difficulty of diagnosing and treating the disease.
Early onset Alzheimer’s symptoms
Early onset Alzheimer’s symptoms include:
- Minor memory losses that could be visible
- Losing and misplacing things
- Forgetting people’s names
- Not being able to think of a correct word for a sentence.
- Social and work activities start to become quite a chore due to their difficulty, however, during the early stages individuals still act and function independently.
- They find themselves having trouble planning things and organizing events.
Early onset Alzheimer’s symptoms may become quite confusing for those affected due to sudden memory lapses and difficulties with tasks that seem to only increase with time. It is very important for those close to an individual to keep an eye out for these early onset Alzheimer’s symptoms once that person reaches a target age that could potentially lead to a fully developed Alzheimer’s.
Thal, D., Arnim, C. v., Griffin, W., Yamaguchi, H., Mrak, R., Attems, J., & Upadhaya, A. R. (2013, November). Pathology of clinical and preclinical Alzheimer’s disease. European Archives of Psychiatry & Clinical Neuroscience., 137-145.
Valerie is a psychology student who is trying to pursue a career in Cognitive Neuroscience. She is passionate about the brain and finds it fascinating. She loves learning about new discoveries and research that is going on in the world of psychology and neuroscience. One day she hopes to contribute to the scientific community!