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    Concerned about early onset at 31?
    hawkingschair posted:
    Hey everyone. I'll be as brief as I can. I have a family history of Alzheimer's on my father's side. I'm almost 32. Over the last year or two I have noticed ever-frequent "hiccups" in my cognitive functions.

    My memory has always been strong, but I have had memory lapses, such as how to do aspects of my job, and more recently, finding myself knowing the face but not the name of coworkers. My job requires a lot of driving, but I find myself lost regularly - even in the town I grew up in - which I've compensated by using a GPS at all times. Other times I'll be driving and then, in what feels like an instant, I'll find myself miles away from where I just was.

    What is even scarier to me is that just today I found myself disoriented in my own apartment - everything felt "alien", and I didn't know why I was there. It felt as if I "woke up" in a home that wasn't my own.

    Other oddities I've noticed are simple things. I find myself looking at my iPhone not knowing what to do with it. As I do podcasts, I often can't find the proper words to make my point or convey a thought, and other times words come out slurred or garbled.

    The simple task of reading has become hard. Normally, I read very fast and remember almost everything. A few nights ago, it took over an hour for me to read 10 pages of a book, and after all that, I retained nothing. The difficulty reading was my first recognition that something wasn't right a while back.

    I think it is safe to say this all scares me. Should I be concerned about early onset (which has been diagnosed at my age in others) or something else?, and what kind of doctor should I look up?

    cjh1203 responded:
    Hello, Hawkingschair-

    I'm so sorry you're having such a scary time. I can understand why you're as concerned as you are; unfortunately, some of the things you describe don't sound like normal memory lapses.

    Maybe a thorough workup by your family doctor would be a good place to start, to see if anything looks suspicious, and then perhaps a neurologist.

    Here's an article about treatable conditions that can mimic dementia. It's mostly geared toward older people, but there are some that might be applicable to you.

    It would be extremely unusual to have Alzheimer's at your age, but your symptoms definitely need to be checked out.

    I hope you'll let us know what you find out. I sincerely hope that it will turn out to be something that can be easily treated and resolved.

    Best wishes-
    cjh1203 responded:
    Hawkingschair, I wanted to add that stress and fatigue can also cause some of the symptoms you describe. In my case, fatigue caused some episodes that had me worried. Twice, when I was driving home from places I went almost every day, I couldn't figure out where I was for a couple of minutes -- that doesn't sound like a long time, but it is when you're traveling a route you know like the back of your hand.

    Another time, I needed to go someplace I've been hundreds of times, and couldn't remember how to get there. Reading was a lost cause for a while because I felt like I couldn't comprehend anything.

    I still sometimes have trouble getting out the right words if I'm very tired but, for the most part, the really concerning incidents have stopped.

    Just wanted to encourage you not to panic too much yet, because it could turn out to be something as simple as your brain being too tired or stressed.


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