Early-Onset Dementia

Early-onset dementia is when the symptoms of dementia begin before the age of 65. It is sometimes referred to as younger-onset dementia.

Early-onset dementia is much less common that the usual late-onset dementia (after the age of 65). Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of early-onset dementia. When Alzheimer’s disease causes early-onset dementia rather than late-onset, a person is more likely to have a variant of Alzheimer’s disease that doesn’t affect memory as severely as typical Alzheimer’s disease. A person is also more likely to have a greater delay in diagnosis, because dementia is unexpected at younger ages and the symptoms may be overlooked or misinterpreted.

Frontotemporal degeneration is the second most common cause of early-onset dementia, and is the most common cause of dementia among people at the youngest ages before 60 years old.

There is no cure for early-onset dementia caused by a neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s disease or frontotemporal degeneration. A comprehensive evaluation can clarify if the cognitive changes in a person under 65 are caused by early-onset dementia rather than just normal aging.

References and Resources

  1. https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers/younger-early-onset
  2. https://www.theaftd.org/what-is-ftd/disease-overview/

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