Allison Elliott-Shannon

Early Diagnosis Crucial for Younger-Onset Alzheimer's

Published: May 15, 2012

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 15, 2012) - The following column appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader on Sunday, May 13.

 

Early Diagnosis Is Crucial For Younger-Onset Alzheimer's

By Dr. Gregory Jicha

 

Younger-onset (or early-onset) Alzheimer’s disease refers to Alzheimer’s disease in people younger than 65. It has been in the news lately: Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt, 59, recently stepped down from her job due to Alzheimer’s. Early-onset Alzheimer’s can affect people as young as their 40s. Because it strikes people in the prime of life, the early-onset form of the disease brings with it extra complications. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, as many as 5 percent of Alzheimer’s cases in the United States are early-onset.

 

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease of cognitive impairment. People gradually lose their ability to understand, remember and think clearly. There is currently no known cure for Alzheimer’s, although there are treatments that can slow the progression of symptoms.

When younger people develop Alzheimer’s, they are typically living busy lives. They might have just reached the peak of their career, and they often are busy caring for children, and sometimes caring for their own older relatives.

 

Early-onset Alzheimer’s often strikes before people qualify for retirement benefits, Social Security or Medicare. Thus it can be even more financially devastating than for older adults. Typically, younger people have not had as much time to plan for their financial future, so they often are not financially ready to retire. Unable to work, the affected person might be forced to take early retirement, losing income and health benefits.

 

In addition to the typical stages of coming to grips with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis — anger, denial, depression, isolation and loss — those with the early-onset form of the disease might be faced with explaining the condition to their children, and with finding alternative caregiving arrangements for their own parents.

 

Although there is not yet a cure for Alzheimer’s, there are medications that can ease its symptoms. Also, clinical trials are in progress to test possible treatments for the disease. Support services are available for people with Alzheimer’s, their caregivers and families. For that reason, it is important for any cognitive impairment to be detected as early as possible. The first step in detecting mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to Alzheimer’s, is a simple memory screening.

 

People of any age who suspect that they might have problems with memory are encouraged to seek screening and assistance.

 

Screening available

The UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging provides free memory screenings from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month at the UK HealthCare Polk-Dalton Clinic, 217 Elm Tree Lane, Lexington. No appointment is required.

 

Dr. Gregory Jicha is the McCowan Endowed Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease at the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging.  

 

jicha_gregory-3.jpg
July
 
 
1
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
2
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers
Wed
3
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
4
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
5
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
6
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Artful Sunday: Benday Dot Day
Sun
7
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Mon
8
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
9
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers
Wed
10
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
11
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
12
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
International Youth Water Justice Summit
Sat
13
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
14
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Mon
15
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
16
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers (with Dr. Greg Jicha)
Wed
17
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
18
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
19
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Color Water Balloon Fight
Sat
20
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Summer Salon: Landscape as Subject with Tom Barnes, Photographer
Sun
21
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Mon
22
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
23
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers
Wed
24
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
25
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
26
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
27
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
28
 
Mon
29
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
30
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers (with Mary Crowley Schmidt)
Wed
31
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
 
 

Repeats every day on May, June, July, August every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Aug 17 2014 .
Wed, 07/30/2014

Repeats every day on May, June, July, August every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Aug 17 2014 .
Thu, 07/31/2014

Fri, 08/01/2014 - Wed, 09/03/2014

Repeats every day on May, June, July, August every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Aug 17 2014 .
Fri, 08/01/2014

Reset Page