Dementia is a medical condition characterized by impairment of brain functions that affects how people think, feel, or perceive things. Young-onset dementia, or early-onset dementia, is used to describe any form of dementia that develops in people before the age of 65.
What Are The Symptoms Of Young-onset Dementia?
Young-onset dementia is similar to other forms of dementia, but it has different impacts on those affected since they are most likely to be working, raising a family, or responsible for their family’s finances.
This article will take a closer look at the common signs and symptoms of young-onset dementia, as well as the causes and ways to prevent it.
We should understand that symptoms can differ from person to person depending on the type of dementia and the region of the brain it affects.
Some of the most common symptoms of early-onset dementia include:
➔ Short-term memory changes
These can be an early sign of dementia. It is characterized by frequent memory lapses involving recent memories.
More often, these changes are subtle and short-term, like forgetting where they have placed things, what they are supposed to do at any given time, or why they entered a particular room or place.
➔ Changes in mood and personality
People with these conditions may seem more agitated, fearful, or anxious compared to their usual demeanor. They may get upset under unfamiliar conditions or if there are changes in their routine.
Depression and paranoia are early warning signs for individuals with early-onset dementia. Additionally, a shift in personality is also observed among these people, such as from being shy to outgoing or vice versa.
➔ Difficulty performing familiar tasks
This is another warning sign of dementia in younger individuals. Becoming confused with familiar tasks like handling money, placing a call, or following a recipe.
➔ Poor judgment
This is another typical symptom of dementia, where the person does not recognize dangerous situations like when to cross the road or go outside wearing summer clothes in the winter. They may also lack financial judgment, as they may give away their money or belongings to people they barely know.
Repeating daily tasks like shaving and bathing or having the same conversations over and over again is also common among people with dementia.
➔ Difficulty finding the right words
People with this condition forget the meaning of words they hear and struggle to follow conversations. They may stop the conversation midway as they don’t know how to continue and have a hard time explaining or expressing their feelings.
What Causes Early-onset Dementia?
Young-onset dementia has the same factors that cause dementia in older people. The types of dementia that cause young-onset dementia are:
🔹 Alzheimer’s disease
About 60 to 70 percent of dementia cases are caused by Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is a long-term, degenerative brain disease that gradually destroys memory and cognitive function, resulting in an inability to perform everyday tasks.
There is no cure for this condition, but the symptoms can be treated with the help of medications and cognitive therapy.
🔹 Vascular dementia
This is the second most common cause of young-onset dementia, affecting the decision-making and problem-solving capacities of people. It occurs when there is not enough oxygen supply to the brain.
Vascular dementia is closely associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases like stroke and heart disease. Anything that prevents blood flow can contribute to this condition. This is a treatable condition if diagnosed early.
🔹 Frontotemporal dementia
Frontotemporal dementia is the third most common cause that can cause changes in our behavior or language abilities. It has a genetic element to it and is also associated with family members who have criminal behavior or are alcoholics.
So far, there is no cure for FTD; however, psychotherapy and medications like antidepressants and serotonin can reduce the behavioral problems linked to FTD.
🔹 Auto-immune dementia
This is seen in about 10 percent of patients with young-onset dementia. Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis can cause vascular damage and cognitive impairment.
Unlike other causes, these have the potential to develop tremors and lead to movement disorders. With early and appropriate treatment, this condition can be cured.
Generally, people with dementia do not recognize these changes and will be reluctant to accept that something is wrong with them, making it hard to take them to the doctor. However, it is important to seek medical help when the above-mentioned symptoms affect their ability to perform daily tasks.
Depending on the severity and how often they exhibit these symptoms, doctors may consider several treatment options, which are mainly composed of medications and psychotherapy. Early medical intervention can reduce the symptoms and improve the quality of their lives.