Consumer Health: What is early-onset Alzheimer’s disease?

a middle aged white man with light brown hair in a blue sweater standin outside with a slight, serious smile and thoughtful look on his face

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder that causes brain cells to waste away and die. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, which is a term used to describe a group of symptoms that affect memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily function.

Memory loss is the key symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. An early sign of the disease is difficulty remembering recent events or conversations. As the disease progresses, memory impairment persists and worsens, affecting the ability to function at work or at home.

Alzheimer’s disease is most commonly a disease of the elderly. Early-onset Alzheimer’s, however, is an uncommon form of dementia that strikes people younger than 65. Most people with young-onset Alzheimer’s develop symptoms of the disease when they are between 30 and 60. And for some, there may be a genetic link.

Learn how early-onset Alzheimer’s is diagnosed and how to cope if this disease affects your family.

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