People should be aware of early-onset dementia, learn what its symptoms are and how important is the early diagnosis.
Pat Summitt, 59, Tennessee women’s basketball coach has been recently diagnosed with early-onset dementia (Alzheimer’s type) when she visited the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
[googlead tip=”patrat_mediu” aliniat=”stanga”]Last May, Mayo Clinic doctors performed a spinal tap and other tests that eventually produced the diagnosis of early-onset dementia.
In a statement released by the university on Tuesday, Pat Summitt said:
“I plan to continue to be your coach. Obviously, I realize I may have some limitations with this condition since there will be some good days and some bad days.”
“But I have been honest and shared my health concerns with you and now we will move on with the business involved. I hope that you will respect my privacy regarding this matter.”
Pat Summitt initially chalked up her memory problems to side effects from medicine she was taking to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Early-onset dementia is a term used for progressive dementia that begins before age 65, so, to be aware of its symptoms and visiting doctor for an early diagnosis are crucial.
[googlead tip=”vertical_mare” aliniat=”dreapta”] Linda Johnson, director of programs for Alzheimer’s Tennessee Inc. has some hope to offer to the people who have been diagnosed with early-onset dementia and call her office for help and : better treatments, education and support.
Over the past fifteen years, medications have improved for people diagnosed with “early-onset Alzheimer’s,” or “early-onset dementia”, a term used for progressive dementia that begins before age 65.
Most people diagnosed with early-onset dementia are in their 40s and 50s, though some are in their 30s. It accounts for only 5% to 10% of all Alzheimer’s disease cases.
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Let’s see some of the early-onset dementia symptoms.
Early on, people may have difficulty with language, mixing up words. Later, they may fail to recognize something they should: a favorite restaurant, an article of clothing. They may start to have difficulty performing complex tasks, such as bookkeeping.
“Many times, it’s the co-workers of people with early-onset dementia who notice something is wrong, because most people are taxed with more complex tasks at work than at home,” Linda Johnson said.
“It’s very important to get a diagnosis as soon as possible,” she said, to rule out other things that sometimes cause dementia — vascular problems, for example, some blood clots and tumors, iron deficiency.
Starting medications, which can slow memory loss and other symptoms, ”EARLY is key”, Linda Johnson said.
“It can slow down the progression for years, in certain individuals, though there is no cure,” Johnson said,
But then, there’s the maxim Johnson heard from a trainer: “If you’ve seen one Alzheimer’s case, you’ve seen one Alzheimer’s case.”
She knows a person who lived with Alzheimer’s for 25 years, another who had only 18 months. 10 years seems to be average.
About 50% of early-onset dementia cases are linked to the mutation of certain genes, which means people can have a hereditary disposition to the disease. The other 50% of cases are similar to later-onset Alzheimer’s, and it’s not clear why they begin earlier in life.