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What is Early Alzheimer's Disease?

Meshell Powell
Meshell Powell

Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia that typically affects adults age 65 and older. Occasionally, these dementia symptoms will begin several years earlier. When this happens, the condition is known as early Alzheimer's disease. This form of dementia is believed to have a genetic link because it tends to run in families. Treatment options for early Alzheimer's disease include medications, memory aids, and counseling.

Early Alzheimer's disease is a condition that tends to worsen gradually. Symptoms often increase over a period of months or years and include memory loss and decreased reasoning skills. Since these symptoms are not typically expected in younger people, this condition can be greatly misunderstood and have tremendously devastating results in the personal life of the patient.

Signs of early Alzheimer's disease involve memory loss and decreased reasoning skills.
Signs of early Alzheimer's disease involve memory loss and decreased reasoning skills.

When a person first starts showing signs of early Alzheimer's disease, the symptoms are often interpreted as the patient becoming lazy or simply suffering from a lack of motivation. Sometimes, psychiatric illnesses are even suspected. Personal relationships and job security can be negatively affected by these misunderstandings.

Education and support are the most important tools to have when a person has been diagnosed with early Alzheimer's disease. Understanding this disease is important not only to the patient, but it is essential for the family and caregivers as well. Fortunately, many support groups exist that can help with the unique challenges facing those with early Alzheimer's disease. Doctors are sometimes able to refer the patient to a local support group who can help with any questions and concerns.

Aricept can be used as part of a treatment plan for Alzheimer's disease.
Aricept can be used as part of a treatment plan for Alzheimer's disease.

While there are some medications available that can help with some of the symptoms of early Alzheimer's disease, there is no cure for the disease. Scientists are working on a possible vaccine for this disease, but more research and clinical studies are necessary before this option becomes widely available. Memory aids can often help with some of the memory loss that naturally accompanies this disease. Lists and charts are among the memory aids often used and can include things such as personal care issues or pictures and names of family members.

Early Alzheimer's disease is a condition that tends to worsen gradually.
Early Alzheimer's disease is a condition that tends to worsen gradually.

Counseling is often recommended when a patient is first diagnosed with early Alzheimer's disease. It is helpful for both the patient and the caregiver to create a support system of professionals who can help with the emotional difficulties arising from this disease. Financial advice and planning are often recommended as well because many patients will have to stop working much earlier than originally planned.

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      Signs of early Alzheimer's disease involve memory loss and decreased reasoning skills.
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