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Is it Alzheimer's? I am 42.
Posted: Tuesday, April 7, 2020 1:00 PM
Joined: 4/7/2020
Posts: 2

Hi everyone.

I am 42 years old. My father died 2 years ago of early-onset AD; he was 59 at diagnosis. I know that early-onset CAN be hereditary. My mom is sure he got AD as a result of the 3+ concussions he had during his life (the majority of which occurred playing football), but, being worried for my own future, I am not as sure. 

Over the last month or two, I have noticed that I am frequently struggling to find the right word when speaking. Sometimes it will come to me after a pause, and other times I have to think of another way to say what I want to say. This started really worrying me the other day (because of my dad), so I decided I should start tracking how often this is happening. Well on day 1 (yesterday)... I tried to tell my daughter to pick up a clothes hanger off the floor, and it came out, "Pick up that fork."

That is pretty terrifying, and Google is not helping. I know we all sometimes can't find the right words, misplace our keys, etc, especially as we get older, but this seems different. I have tried to no avail to find reassurance online that this IS normal sometimes, to call an object by the wrong noun - maybe just part of being in one's 40s - and I am really not finding that.

So... now I am scared. Worst-case (based on my personal experience) is AD. Seems like other possibilities are a brain tumor (also not fun, but at least there could be SOME hope of a cure), or maybe a silent stroke... which apparently is a thing (the best possibility, if this IS something serious). 

I know it's super early (no one else but me has noticed it), and I am going to continue tracking what happens & how often. I figure I should do that for at least a few days before I contact my doctor, so that I have more specifics to give her. But the hanger/fork thing is super weird, and I am struggling to explain it away, as much as I want to. I also figure that if it is something like a tumor or a silent stroke, time is of the essence in identifying it (moreso than with AD).

I would appreciate any advice.

P.S. As a side note, my father got massive benefit from engaging with our local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association as he coped with the disease. It was a life saver for my mother as well. Thank you to the Association and its supporters!

Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Tuesday, April 7, 2020 1:30 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 4322

Going to the doctor is a first good step. 

Posted: Tuesday, April 7, 2020 2:10 PM
Joined: 8/12/2019
Posts: 38

As you already know there is a subgroup of early onset Alzheimer’s which is heritable and represents an autosomal dominant pattern. But those cases are very rare and the majority of early onset cases are sporadic or familial but not caused by a mutation and if your dad should have the genetic type than Its very likely that there are many more affected persons in your family who have early onset. And even if that is the case in your family a disease ones of 42 seems very early and untypical so if I was you I’d go to a doctor and there you can do some memory tests. But I don’t think that you have Alzheimer’s.
Posted: Tuesday, April 7, 2020 4:20 PM
Joined: 4/7/2020
Posts: 2

Thank you both!

Monti00 - I am not aware of anyone else in his family with AD.  Although, both his father & his father's father died at age 55 of heart attacks... so it seems possible that it was passed down through that paternal line and they didn't live quite long enough for it to manifest. That said, Dad was the oldest of 5 (2 brothers & 2 sisters), and none of his siblings have been diagnosed.  When I think about it in that context, it does make me feel slightly better about my odds.

Posted: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 9:19 AM
Joined: 3/7/2012
Posts: 2738

I do not believe I've welcomed you to the message boards bastet00. You will find lots of support and information here. Please go to the top of this page and click solutions. Various topics will come up and you can click on the ones that apply.

I would very highly encourage you to seek help from a neurologist. However, in the middle of the Covid 19 crisis, possibly do your homework. You can research neurologists, possibly contact your PCP and see if they recommend anyone. Then call and at least get on the books with an appointment - in the future. (However, having said that - many physicians are 'seeing' patients via teledoc type of communication. If you could do that, I think you would be on the right road.)

Yes your age is young at 42, and reading the internet can fill us up with fear - the what if its blank. I like that your documenting, that is excellent. Since this is only really started in the last several months, stress can cause all sorts of things. I'm certainly not saying stress is the cause, I'm saying stress possibly is involved. That is why you should contact a neurologist and see exactly what is happening. For me personally I'm a pro-active type of person, I believe that would benefit you in this situation also.

Take a deep breath, we are here for you. If you would like to contact the Help line 800-272-3900 please do so. They are answering the calls and will help point you in a direction. Let us know how you are doing.


Posted: Friday, April 10, 2020 10:19 PM
Joined: 4/10/2020
Posts: 2

Hi, I completely understand what you’re explaining. This happens to me so much a day. I forget a lot of things, easy things to remember (so I’m told) but I don’t understand why I can’t “just remember” or why I can’t “just say what I want to say”. I stumble a lot on my daily words and I’m worried it may be something more. I haven’t thought about writing down these occurrences but I will start tracking them thanks to you. The scary thing is I’m just getting to turning 30 this year and this is very early (so I think) to start losing my memory, along with other things.
Posted: Sunday, May 3, 2020 8:20 PM
Joined: 12/7/2014
Posts: 49

While 42 is certainly young, my wife was diagnosed with AD at 49.  That was 5 years ago.  It was not familial as no one in her family had it previously.  She also has difficulty with words and hesitation while speaking.  That being said, there are other possibilities that can be treated besides AD and tumor.  Can be as simple as a vitamin B deficiency.  I’d check with your Dr and relieve your mind.
Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2020 8:22 AM
Joined: 10/8/2020
Posts: 12


I am 55 and was diagnosed with EOA earlier this year.  I don't know when the symptoms started, but when problems were noticed at work (in addition to home) I spoke with a neurologist and started testing (so many tests).  It took over a year, but I was finally diagnosed.  When I and my husband started noticing that I was forgetting things, the first thing we though was that it was just a normal part of aging.  It is so hard to tell what is "normal aging" and what is not.  I was losing words, saying wrong words, becoming confused, and getting frequently agitated.  Now that I have been diagnosed, I am on medication Donepezil (generic for Aricept) which is helping.  

Having this disease at any age is terrifying, but at a younger age brings on even more challenges.  I am coping with this disease the best I can.  I've searched for support groups, but find them mostly only for caregivers.  That is why I started MEMORY WARRIORS.  Memory Warriors is a Facebook Support Group for people with EOA or any other type of dementia.  It's a place to support each other.  A place to ask and answer questions, share experiences, frustrations, and feelings.  The dementia places us on a journey, but we don't need to travel the road alone.

Iris L.
Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2020 2:34 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18046

Welcome Andree.  I hope you and all new members continue to post here.  


Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Friday, October 9, 2020 9:21 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 4322

 bastet00 any update on you issues? 

Posted: Wednesday, October 21, 2020 5:04 PM
Joined: 10/21/2020
Posts: 1

Hi, just happened to be stumbling upon this now. Do you take Topamax? That medicine even at small doses of 25 mg can cause word finding issues. I find myself playing charades just come up with a simple word like banana.  It happens to me all the time. I have other memory issues as well so while my doctors try to comfort me about the medication, I do think mine may be dementia related. Both my mothers parents had Alzheimer’s and my mother was just diagnosed today at age 70. She started with dementia issues in her early 50s, late 40s so I am right on track unfortunately.
Posted: Friday, October 23, 2020 5:30 PM
Joined: 7/17/2020
Posts: 261

As you mentioned, there are other things that can cause that symptom. If it is dementia, then there should be other signs. Read up on them and see if any others apply. And do see your doctor as soon as possible. I wish all of the best for you.