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Is Dementia Always Related To Your Age?

Aug 17, 2007
The first conclusion most people come to when they hear about dementia and Alzheimer's is that it is basically something they won't need to worry about until they are much older. However, dementia and Alzheimer's are not just conditions of the elderly. There are cases of early onset Alzheimer's that have developed in people between the ages of thirty to forty; however the majority of cases of early onset Alzheimer's are diagnosed when the patient is in their fifties.

Any diagnoses of Alzheimer's before the age of sixty-five is considered to be early onset. Early onset Alzheimer's has been found to run in families. If a grandparent has it, persons in the family line will have a larger change of developing early onset of this disease and should be aware of the symptoms of this disease in its early stages. Early onset Alzheimer's is often misdiagnosed as simple lack of motivation, forgetfulness or psychiatric issues.

Dementia is another illness often thought to only affect the elderly. There are types of dementia that are not related to old age at all. One common occurrence of dementia in younger persons is due to a closed head injury. Accidents when riding motorcycles and four-wheelers without a helmet then suffering an impact are among the leading cause of closed head injuries among younger people. Automobile accidents that result in closed head injuries are another factor in early onset dementia.

Current studies show the front part of the skull where the frontal lobe of the brain is located is one factor in the early onset of dementia. The frontal lobe controls perceptions and is also in charge of impulse control, short-term memory functions and sense of smell seem to be affected. One of the earliest symptoms of early dementia is often reported to be phantosmia, or the hallucination of smells, usually in the form of rotting meat or bad body odor. The patient will spend a good deal of time trying to locate the source of a smell; not knowing it is an early symptom of a much larger problem.

Alcohol can be a contributor to dementia. Most people assume heavy drinkers will pay for their lifestyle with liver problems. However, another aspect of severe alcoholism is alcohol induced dementia, also called "wet brain" which is an incurable type of dementia that often affects end stage alcoholics. In a nutshell, the internal spaces of the brain become wider and the fissures are created. The fissures fill with fluid and the result is mental confusion, impaired coordination and significant memory loss.

If someone you know is showing early signs of dementia or Alzheimer's urge them to get a complete physical and mention their symptoms to their physician. Early symptoms can include loss of memory, mixing up words on a frequent basis, sudden lack of attention span, disturbances in language such as searching for commonly used words to complete a sentence and suddenly feeling disoriented when in a familiar place such as forgetting where the bathroom is in the home of a friend they have visited on many occasions.

Dementia isn't just a disease that affects the geriatric population. Anyone at any age can be affected by dementia. Knowing the early warning signs and early intervention methods which will be unique to each individual's case, are an effective way to slow the progression of the disease so the affected person can lead a healthy and productive life for a much longer span of time.
About the Author
Andi Michaels writes regularly for Alzheimers And Dementia where you can read many more articles on Alzheimers . Also go to Halitosis Causes And Treatments for a range of informative articles on dementia symptoms and much more.
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