For those of you who either have early onset or have a family member that has early onset, is there another family member that either has it or had it? How old were the early onset members? In other words.... is there a heredity factor involved or is it sporadic?
With early onset, what other symptoms or signs are there? I have read every possible internet article and have sat at Barnes and Noble and ready every book. I haven't read all that many early onset posts on here and would like to hear what people have to say. My family is dealing with the possibility of early onset with my Dad who is 61. I am aware that it is very possible, just obviously having a very difficult time understanding and accepting.
Any information is appreciated.
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My husband was 59 when diagnosed and is now almost 62. He comes from a very large family, with more than a dozen aunts and uncles and seven cousins around his age (although no one lives near us). Except for one aunt who was diagnosed in her late-80s, there is no family history of Alzheimers or other dementia. He went to the doctor for a checkup since he was having problems remembering words when he was speaking. We didn't have any idea that this diagnosis was even a possibility at the time -- it was an unbelievable shock. Looking back with 20-20 hindsight, for a year before the diagnosis I now remember that his office was becoming disorganized and he became more tentative since he also was having some minor memory problems.
He's doing pretty well although he continues to decline at a fairly steady pace, with some plateaus and drop-offs.
I also read everything I could get my hands on, which helped me a lot. But there are a lot of other things that can be diagnosed, so try not to worry too much yet. As my mother used to say, I'll light a candle for you!
Last edited by Beginning; 01-20-2006 at 04:30 AM.
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If anyone knows what symptoms etc and a diagnosis was finally made. I'm 57 and I've been having short term memory problems for about 4 years. Two years ago I had an MRI, neurological work up, did some neuro tests (those IQ things), and saw two neuros. They all agree that there's a problem. One said that "the memory loss is not consistent with my age. She sent me to a neurologist that is a dementia specialist. After reviewing all of these problems he said I had an "attention" problem. When I asked if it was like add he said no. I've always been the go to person for spelling. I could learn things and retain them forever. I struggle to spell words, can't do any math problems in my head. Never grasped algebra, but I could do the other things in my head. Now I can't figure out a simple math thing without a calculater. I can't remember anything. We are going to start the process all over again. I'm beginning to come to the thought that I should just ignore. I still work in a field I've been in for 22 years. I had to take on a partner because I just don't remember to do things.
Any thoughts folks? I'd appreciate anything you can think of Thanks.
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I always wonder when I read about early onset AD if the person is taking any prescription drugs. I did a lot of research on Lipitor when my husband was forced to go off of it because of muscle pain. Some people had the muscle pain from statin drugs, but several also reported they could not concentrate and had trouble remembering simple things. Just a thought.
My mother had an episode of heart failure and was put on 6 drugs, including Zocor, a statin. Five months later we began to see evidence of mental confusion. Her doctor agreed to let her stop taking it, because she also had leg cramps. She has had those for much of her adult life and always managed them very well by drinking a half a glass of tonic water every evening.
I just looked up statin drugs on the Internet. There are many articles out there and we are not allowed to print web sites. One of the first two I read has the following side effect listed:
Depression of mental acuity
It was also interesting that statins are prescibed after any heart problem. Mom's cholesterol was 156, LOW even by today's standards. It used to be that 240 was the beginning of 'high", later 200, now 180.
I have no proof but am suspicious enough to refuse to use that drug myself. I keep mine low by strict diet, exercise, and a common sense life style. Of course if it is 240 and not reduced by such changes, maybe a drug is needed. I would be very very careful until more is known!
That's my opinion as the daughter of a possible statin victim ...
Thanks for the few who responded. It is appreciated. It has been a horrible, scary, uncertain, frustrating year. My Dad who is 61 has been told that he has early onset. He has had 2 opinons with the last one at the Mayo Clinic with one of the top researchers in the country. I have researched long, long hours, looking at every possible reason in the book. Dad is diabetic and I am aware of the possible increased risk of Alzheimers. I admit with no family history and his young age, problems didn't begin until about 8 months after he started the drug.... unless it was earlier and we didn't see it which seems to be the case for many people, never in a million years did I think this would happen. Very hard to comprehend. He was on a statin drug, Zocor from Spring 2003 until June 2005. The doctors have brushed off the possiblility of the statin and really feel it is not the cause. My Dad is former dairy farmer so with all of the pesticides that he worked with, there is the possibility..... wish there was a clear cut answer. My Dad has had 2 MRI's, 2 Catscans and Spinal Tap. That's a lot. The Catscan showed normal in Dec. 2004, the MRI showed a small, but old and healed stroke in April 2005, the spinal tap came back normal Jan, 2006 and not sure about the 2nd catscan of his chest Jan. 2006. Myself, along with my family and friends do not know what to think...... don't have a clue in the world. A part of me doesn't want to accept it and the other part of me is exhausted and feels like giving up. Selfishly, I am angry and hurt, because I have never been married and at 36 I am hoping that I one day will. Will my Dad see my children? I still hold out hope that it is the side effect of the statin drug and that in time he will come out of it....... Believe me I have read every possible article, trying to weed out the good websites, legitmate to the poor websites. I have emailed Doctors/researchers in Pittsburgh, San Diego. It's frustrating when 50 articles tell us that Statin drugs can bring on dementia/cognitive impairment and the 50 articles tell us the statins can be used to prevent /delay the onset. The doctor didn't say much when it was brought to his attention. It's very tiring!!!!
Oh dear - I am sorry for you, your family and Dad. This is so hard. How did the Doctors come to the conclusion that your Dad has AD? Also, has he had some personality changes along with the memory loss and confusion? My husband is 58 and has been having memory problems. His Dad has dementia caused from mini strokes. Is your Dad on any AD medicine? Keep us posted. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours. C
My husband did have high cholesterol, but had refused to take any of the statin drugs. He managed his cholesterol himself with diet and exercise - his weight was right, and he was a salad-guy who enjoyed skiing and other active sports. His early onset AD was diagnosed at age 59. When we went to an AD Support Group, many of the patients were taking statin drugs. We questioned a possible link with the research center too, but since elevated cholesterol and AD are both associated with increased age, there wasn't a definite link. However, they did say that this is one area of continuing research.
We're at the 3-year anniversary of my husband's diagnosis, and he's still my functioning as my husband and our kids' Dad. His abilities are still dropping (he'll get up to go to the kitchen and will ask at the door where he was going), but we are still able to be a family. Every person progresses differently, but your family will have more time than you think.
Hi! And welcome to the board. I am fairly new here myself and have received tons of helpful information from wonderful ladies.
I am 26 years old and my mother who is 61 is now living with me and my two children and husband. She was diagnosed as having dementia around 7 years ago and after MRIs and observation along with many tests she was diagnosed with Alzheimers about 5 years ago. She was only 56 at the time.
Like you we have a very large family and have no past history of Alzheimers. -Catherine
uCrious about when your mom was diagnosed with dementia, was kind was it before she was labled AD. I was just wondering if it was from Strokes that they may have seen on MRI. My husband (56) has dementia from strokes and could get AD later they told me.
My mom is 57, her great aunt had AD (don't think is was early onset though), her father died early from other complications--age 65, so we don't know if he had it. I think my great grandpa had it but it was at a time when everyone had dimentia- pre alzh. diagnosis.
Is this enough history to prove genetic predisposition?
From what I understand, Alzheimer's Disease is just one of the many dementias. It isn't a progression from another type. Nowadays many use Alzheimer's in the same way they used to use 'senile.' I don't think anyone is called 'senile' any more, even my ancient Mom has 'old age dementia.'
Whatever it is, it is scary and shocking, sad and depressing. It is a great blessing to have it begin later rather than earlier. The medicines now in use seem to work much better on early onset cases, so that's one good thing. Otherwise the 'treatment' is mainly custodial care after the person gets too confused to manage their own lives.
I am hopng that with all the research being done today, a cure , or a prevention, will be found.
It's a paradox, but hardly anyone lived long enough to get this disease only 100 years ago ... even 50 years ago. My maternal grandparents died at 62 and 67, my paternal grandparents so young that I never knew them .. my parents were 30 and 35 when I was born, and both of Dad's parents were long gone. My Dad's Mom died in childbirth when his youngest brother was born, around 1909.
So all the medical advances that prolong our lives today, directly lead to the increase in Dementia. There is no way of knowing whether any of my 4 grandparents would have gotten 'senile' if they had lived to be old.
Meanwhile, learning ways to cope with the patient is probably more valuable than putting the right label on their disease ..
When I spoke with the attorney, he said, "I know this will sound crappy. But your mom's body has out-lived her brain. Now, it's a waiting game; waiting for the body to catch up with the brain."
It brought me to tears, but it's the truth. My mom never smoked or drank. She led a very chaste life; ate all her vegetables and got plenty of excersice. Now, her body is healthy, but her mind is gone. Very sad.
In our family, it bothers my brother the most. He has always had the same theory about "healthiness." He's a jogger, works-out, super-healthy, never smoked and takes extra care of himself. Now........he's afraid he'll end up the same way.