Early-Onset Dementia – Steps for Diagnosis

Pat Summitt, the former University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers head basketball coach, recently passed away at age 64 due to complications associated with early-onset dementia.  Her legacy goes far beyond Tennessee and the basketball court to being a mentor, advocate for women’s athletics and, most recently, as an ambassador for finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately five percent of the five million Americans with Alzheimer’s have early-onset.  Physicians do not typically look for signs of Alzheimer’s in younger adults, and the diagnosis process may be long.  If you are experiencing memory loss, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends:

  • Have a comprehensive medical evaluation, which may include medical and neurological components, with a physician who specializes in Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Keep a list of examples or symptoms of memory loss to share with your physician.
  • No one test confirms Alzheimer’s disease. A diagnosis is only made after a comprehensive medical evaluation.

Treatment is most successful when diagnosed early, so consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.





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