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079 -You’re Too Good Looking to Have Alzheimer’s!

079 -You’re Too Good Looking to Have Alzheimer’s!

“You're too good-looking to have Alzheimer's.”  Imagine hearing this from your doctor. The disbelief that someone could actually look vibrant, strong, and healthy yet have Alzheimer's makes diagnosis more difficult.

Early-onset Alzheimer's is an uncommon form of dementia that strikes people younger than age 65. Of all people with Alzheimer's disease, about 5 percent develop symptoms before age 65. If 4 million Americans have Alzheimer's, at least 200,000 people have the early-onset form of the disease.

Imagine being in the prime of your life, close to the top of your career, when suddenly you're having issues at work. Your boss is upset that you didn't follow through on the action items that were assigned to you. You're certain that this assignment was never discussed.

Now imagine being tested for depression, hormone imbalances and not getting the answers you need. What is wrong? Is it you, the world? Are you going crazy? That's the world that some people with early-onset Alzheimer's experience.

It's commonly assumed that it's the elderly who end up with Alzheimer's. While that is normally the case, many people living with the disease may still have children at home. Due to the rarity of early onset, we are less aware of this version of the disease.
Inherited Alzheimer's
The movie “Still Alice” (released in 2014) portrays Alice Howland, a 50-year-old professor of linguistics. Alice discovers that she has a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease. She must think about her future with diminished cognitive capacities and face difficult conversations with her children, who might have inherited the disease.

In the movie, Alice has Familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD).  This is a rare form of Alzheimer's that is entirely passed down through genetics. FAD accounts for 2-3% of all cases of Alzheimer's and usually has a much earlier onset than other types of Alzheimer's, with symptoms developing in people in their 30s or 40s

Alzheimer's disease isn't fully understood. Scientists believe that the disease has genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors for most people. There may be a hereditary component to Alzheimer's. People whose parents or siblings have the disease are slightly more likely to develop the condition.

Regular listeners know my Mom and Great grandmother had dementia or Alzheimer's. It's possible that my maternal grandmother had Alzheimer's as well. That puts me in a higher risk category. I cannot change my genetics, so I focus on making the best lifestyle choices I can.

Doing What We Can Avoid Inherited Alzheimer's

Lifestyle choices are all the things we know we should do but somehow manage to avoid doing. I exercise regularly, eat as cleanly as possible, and I make getting the best sleep I can. Other lifestyle improvements include stress management.

Some examples of stress-management techniques include:

Guided Imagery and Visualization
Deep Breathing

Trust me — it is unnecessary to lock yourself into any of these stress relaxation techniques. Rather, it’s best to feel free to explore any or all of them to see which technique works best for you. Simply start with any of these techniques for a few minutes a day, and you’ll quickly begin to experience better brain function. Then, find the techniques you tend to enjoy the very most, and you’ll begin experiencing a whole new and improved — and less stressed — you!

With this in mind, my main sources of stress management are exercise, playing with my dogs, and focusing on the beauty around me. As a result of producing this podcast, I am able to talk to many people who also help me with my caregiving journey.

Fading Memories is a place where you can get stress relief. Each guest offers a lot of inspiration and practical ideas. Best of all, there are a lot of laughs despite the serious topic.

e bills!

Did you know people with Alzheimer's can receive nearly 200 spam calls a week? You can put a stop to those now.

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Contact Jen at hello@fadingmemoriespodcast.com

Fading Memories was created to support family caregivers in a simple, on-demand form. When I was looking for advice on caring for my Mom, I needed this podcast. Since it didn’t exist, I created what I needed!
Jen – pod host

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