Early-onset dementia affects people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. While most people with dementia are over the age of 65, certain younger adults may also be at risk. Here are five common causes of early-onset dementia.
1. Genetic Predispositions
While dementia is not usually inherited, there are certain genetic factors that make people more likely to develop early-onset dementia. People with this condition often have genetic mutations across three specific genes, which can lead to the protein buildup in the brain that is linked to the development of Alzheimer’s. Those who have a family history of early-onset dementia may want to get tested for these genetic abnormalities.
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2. Learning Disabilities
Certain learning disabilities like Down’s syndrome increase the risk of early-onset dementia. Most people with Down’s syndrome have an additional copy of chromosome 21, which is genetically linked to amyloid protein. Like other genetic abnormalities, this extra chromosome creates an environment where plaque-building proteins are produced.
3. Alcohol-Induced Dementia
Alcohol-related brain damage differs from early-onset dementia in several ways. Most importantly, this damage is often reversible. Alcohol-induced damage presents itself similarly to early-onset dementia, and it most commonly affects people in their 50s. This condition impacts people who consume alcohol in excess, which leads to inadequate vitamin B1 absorption and nerve cell damage. People with alcohol-induced dementia may experience severe short-term memory loss and show tendencies for confabulation. With abstinence and a healthy diet, the effects of this condition can be mitigated.
4. Cardiovascular Conditions
Cardiovascular difficulties can lead to early-onset dementia. The cardiovascular system is responsible for pumping blood to every part of the body, including the brain. If the brain is not receiving an adequate blood supply, its functionality will be compromised. If this is allowed to persist for too long, it can cause permanent neural damage. To prevent cardiovascular-induced dementia, people can adopt heart-healthy lifestyle changes, which includes following a diet filled with lean protein, fruits, and vegetables and getting regular exercise.
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5. Frontotemporal Dementia
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is another dementia variant that commonly affects people under the age of 65. Many people are diagnosed with this condition in their 40s, and it is caused by damage to the frontal regions of the brain, which affects behavioral patterns and language skills. People who develop this condition usually have a genetic predisposition, and there are no other known risk factors. FTD is distinct from Alzheimer’s in several ways. In semantic variants of this condition, people may lose the ability to formulate sentences, whereas people with Alzheimer’s are more prone to forget words or names than grammatical construction. With frontotemporal dementia, nerve cell damage also alters behavior and impacts foresight, empathy, reasoning skills, and control. These are among the first symptoms of FTD, while they tend to manifest later in seniors with Alzheimer’s.
Dementia is a major health concern that can impact a senior’s ability to perform daily tasks independently. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a North Houston home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services. If your loved one wants to age in the comfort of home, call us at 832-412-1345 today.