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Concerned that my mom has Alzheimer's
Hannah488 posted:
I am concerned that my mom might have Alzheimer's. What's concerning me is that she's only 55 years old.

In the past year or so I have noticed the following:

-She gets confused more often. She has a hard time comprehending/processing what I am saying
-She has been more clumsy and drops and spills things a lot
-She has been more irritable
-She gets lost more easily and has a hard time finding things in her own house
-Sometimes she forgets my name or my brother's name
-She has been more disorganized
-She has forgotten to go to doctor's appointments sometimes
-Her personal hygiene is declining. she's not showering and brushing her teeth as often
-She has gone out in public wearing her pajamas and forgets to change her clothes before going out.

It sounds like Alzheimer's to me. I am just concerned because I thought this just happens to people over 70. But, I was looking up some stuff about it on the internet and found that early onset Alzheimer's can occur in adults under 65. But, I still think that 55 is too young to get it. I need your advice please.
cjh1203 responded:
Hi Hannah-

I don't know if you read the thread titled "Worried Wife", but it sounds as though you're in pretty much the same situation she is.

Early-onset Alzheimer's can strike people as young as their 40s. It's rare, but possible. It's more likely to be diagnosed in people in their 50s and early 60s. Is there a history of Alzheimer's in your family?

Her symptoms do sound like they could be the result of Alzheimer's, but I'm sure there are other possibilities. It would be good to take all of her medications to a pharmacist to see if they might be causing her problems.

Has she been under a lot of stress? Has she been screened for depression? I didn't realize this until Dr. Judith London posted it, but even urinary tract infections can cause Alzhemer's-like symptoms.

She should get a complete examination and work-up from her doctor to rule out other causes for her symptoms. If nothing turns up, she should be seen by a neurologist, preferably one who specializes in Alzheimer's and other dementias.

I hope you can get some answers soon. If she does have Alzheimer's, the sooner she can start on Alzheimer's medications, the better. Nothing can stop or cure Alzheimer's, but there are medications (Namenda, Exelon, Aricept) that can slow the progression of the disease.

Please let us know how things go. I know it's a very distressing situation, and we'll give you all the support we can.

Hannah488 replied to cjh1203's response:

thanks so much for your response. My grandmother had a brain tumor that caused dementia-like symptoms. Also, my mom has a great uncle who has Alzheimer's. So, there's a little bit of family history there. I will try and find her a neurologist to see if she can get screened for it. I feel it best to go to the appointment with her since she has memory issues and may not be able to answer all the questions. And she does not appear to be depressed. But, she has troubles sleeping so possibly her symptoms are due to her being overly tired.

Judith L London, PhD replied to Hannah488's response:
Hi Hannah,

It's great that you are following up on your Mom's symptoms.
Definitely go with her to all her doctor's appointments from now on, even taking along a tape recorder to catch everything said. AT what age did your great-uncle get Alzheimer's? Was it a definitive diagnosis?

Hope you find out what's going on,


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