For some, it can hit before mid-life, but these cases are very unusual.
November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Most of us may feel firm in believing that the disease is something that strikes people in old age. This may be true for the most part, but it can also hit people quite young. But how young? Well, it depends on your definition of “young”.
Is 80 quite old? Or young? How about 55? What about 45? How you perceive a certain age likely has a lot to do with your own age at present.
Dementia is a tricky disease. In an official sense, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine suffering from Alzheimer’s isn’t restricted to the elderly. So-called early-onset Alzheimer’s can affect patients as young as 30 or 40 years old. Thankfully, this is rare.
Most individuals suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s have a common form of the illness, and they find the disease hits in their 40s and 50s. Still young, but not as early as 30.
For people who develop what’s called ‘familial Alzheimer’s”, the disease can also rear its head as early as the 30s, but only a few hundred people actually have this genetic form of the disease, experts say.
For the majority of Alzheimer’s sufferers, symptoms and diagnosis come later. The disease is generally diagnosed in patients’ in their mid-60s.
According to The National Institute of Aging, people may experience damaging changes in the brain as early as a decade before they ever show signs of having dementia.
Alzheimer’s affects about 5.5 million Americans and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.