Most people think that Alzheimer's disease only affects the elderly. Perhaps when you think of this condition, you think of your grandparents in a nursing home who have trouble remembering who you are. While this disease does affect many people over the age of 65, it can also happen to those younger than that as well.
As you can imagine, it would be quite debilitating for anyone, but when someone who has not even had a chance to live a full life becomes affected, he or she may no longer be able to work, enjoy family and friends, and enjoy all that life has to offer.
What is early-onset Alzheimer's disease?
Fortunately, the early onset of this condition only happens to anywhere between five and 10% of the country's population. Even so, for those who receive this diagnosis, there is nothing fortunate about it. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have this issue, look for the following signs:
- One of the first issues many people have is with their memories. The problem is that several other reasons exist for memory problems, so this symptom may not trigger the thought that it may result from the early onset of AD.
- Another indicator is the inability to function at work. If you find yourself feeling as though you can no longer adequately perform your work duties, you may want to see a doctor.
- You may feel depressed and not understand why. Again, the possibility of early-onset AD could easily be dismissed since so many factors and circumstances can cause depression.
- When you begin having trouble with language, your judgment declines and you experience other signs of cognitive decline, you may want to get to your doctor as soon as possible.
- You could become withdrawn, restless and experience personality changes. More than likely, your loved ones and friends would notice this sooner than you would.
As you can see, receiving a diagnosis for this condition could be a challenge. In fact, no definitive test exists to diagnose early-onset AD. Doctors may also miss this diagnosis because the percentage of people younger than 65 who suffer from this condition is so low. It would not constitute the first line of inquiry with a doctor, so it may take longer than it should to reach the proper diagnosis.
However, once your doctor makes a diagnosis, you or a loved one may already be unable to work. This can cause an increased amount of stress since no income is coming into the household. It may be possible to pursue Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, however. Receiving these benefits is not an easy task, so it would greatly benefit anyone in this position to work with a compassionate and experienced California attorney who has helped others in the same position.