As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, early onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is happening more often. People can start showing signs of the disease in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Between 1 and 5 percent of cases are early onset.
Familial Alzheimer’s disease means that earlier generations of a family have had the disease. For example, my mom has the disease, and her mom and uncle were also diagnosed with it. According to studies, that means my brother and I have a 50-50 chance of also being diagnosed someday.
Because familial AD is so rare, it lacks funding and advocacy and is often called the “ultimate orphan disease.” Even though it is rare, it still needs attention especially when there are families with more than one member diagnosed with it. In Canada, there is a current drug trial that is trying to help slow down or stop the progression of the disease. I hope it works, but it could be years before we know if it does or not.
There is an interesting article from Global News about a man who was diagnosed at 44 for early onset AD: The seventh member of his family with AD.