Alzheimer’s disease affects young people not just seniors.
The early-onset form of Alzheimer’s disease affects people
younger than 65 and accounts for as much as 5 percent of Alzheimer's cases in
the U.S. — or about 200,000 people, according to the Alzheimer's Association. The
Association estimates 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer's. The costs of
caring for those with the disease will total $200 billion this year.
Some experts believe people who develop Alzheimer's before
age 65 usually have a genetic mutation. They can show symptoms as young as age
35. Testing positive for the ApoE4 gene, increases the risk of Alzheimer's and
is carried by one in four Americans, according to Alzheimer's Disease Research,
a branch of a nonprofit organization that helps to pay for studies of
Alzheimer's and other diseases.
As the disease progresses, twisted and tangled protein
fibers accumulate inside brain cells. That build-up begins in areas important
for memory before spreading to other parts of the brain. It eventually leads to
death and cannot be cured or prevented.
Financial distress is a major common among people with
early-onset Alzheimer's. If the person with the diagnosis cannot work, if they
progress to a point where they need care, who's going to provide the care, and
who will pay for it?