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I Have Alzheimer’s or Another Dementia
Should I be concerned?
I’m not entirely sure
if this is the right place for me, but I thought I’d ask for some advice from
I’m only 20 years old
so I never thought about having any serious health problems. For the past 2
years, I have started forgetting words which I knew for sure. For example, I
have met with a friend, and then telling the story to someone I could only say “I’ve
met with… you know… the girl with curly hair.” It usually passes within 10-20
seconds, and then I can remember, but it happens more and more often as I speak.
I forget names of everyday objects on a daily basis, even though I use them everyday
and I know what they are – I’m just searching for the word for a very long
time. If I want someone to pass me avocado, I say “the green thing”, or when I
talk about my dog, I’d say “my dog” instead of her name, because I simply can’t
remember yet. It only lasts for a little while, and I was never concerned about
this – I thought that maybe I just think too fast.
Earlier today a friend
sent me an article about early onset Alzheimer’s. I thought that was a BIG
stretch because I’m only 20 and everyone forgets the words sometimes. Now that
I read more about it, I could also add that I have a very weak long-term
memory, but it has been that way since I was little. I remember very little about
what happened a week ago or a month ago, let alone a year ago. I need to keep a
journal to be able to remember all the things that have happened, and even then,
I often just have to say I don’t remember hanging out with someone when they’re
asking a year later. Also, when I’m studying, almost no long-term knowledge
stays in my brain. Even with my favorite books, I barely remember what they
were about after a year or two, even if I read them a couple of times.
To add to that, I have
a very weak special orientation, but that as well was always the case with me.
I never know which direction I’m heading; I need to use Google Maps everywhere
I go, and it takes me very long to remember a simple route. Even while using
Google Maps, I need to turn my phone upside down for it to be facing the way I’m
walking to in any way feel where I’m going. I can easily be in the same place 5
times and still not recognize the buildings, etc. The city where I live since I
was born, I barely know, I can’t name main streets, etc. even though I have
moved around it since middle school.
So, my question is –
should I be concerned? I always thought that this is just the way I am. My
friends and I were always laughing that my memory is just very weak, I’m so
forgetful, and I’m terrible at navigating. Now everyone thinks I’m just
describing things because I want to, but it happens every day that I have to
describe something instead of using its proper name because it takes my brain
so long to retrieve the name of the object/person/event and so on. It even
happens with people whom I spend every day with, my sister, and so on.
Again, I’m only 20. And
I’m worried that if I get tested, it’s gonna be a big waste of money and time,
because nobody would take me seriously, or because it would be too early of a
stage to be detected. OR, maybe this is normal? Maybe I shouldn't worry? What do you think?
Thank you for reading
Hello Isa and a very warm welcome to you. I can understand your concern and I can imagine it may be stressful for you to worry about this. There are many different conditions/causes that can mimic dementia. I will place a list of some of these at the end of this Post.
Of course, since this has become a worry for you, the best place to start looking into this would be with your primary doctor. NOTE: Do NOT let any physician minimize this with you because you are young. Your concerns are valid, and you need to get answers and that means getting some diagnostics including a complete set of blood labs to check body system function. In all likelihood you do not have dementia, but you deserve some answers.
The specialist that may be able to help you with answers would be a good Neurologist who sees dementia persons as part of his/her practice. As said, there are many different condtions or causes for such symptoms, so the specialist can be a helpful part of your care team while looking into this.
The Alzheimer's Assn. also has a 24 Hour Helpline that can be reached at (800) 272-3900. If you call, ask to be transferred to a Care Consultant. There are no fees for this service. Consultants are highly edcuated Social Workers who specialize in dementia and family dynamics. They can provide much information are very kindly supportive and can often assist us with our problem solving.
Go slow, but do be kind to yourself and find out for sure what you may be experiencing. Here is that list of just some of the condtions that can mimic dementia:
Please feel free to come here and talk as often as you wish on any or all of the different Forums. Let us know how you are doing, we will be thinking of you and we truly do care.
Welcome Isa. I agree with Jo C, you have to begin with your primary care doctor. I doubt very much you have dementia. You did not mention your schooling or work. Did you have trouble in school? Were you ever tested for a learning disorder or attention deficit disorder? Are you working? How is that going? Can you perform your tasks satisfactorily? Also tell the doctor about any history of head trauma such as a fall or even head trauma or kicks from sports games, such as football or soccer. As you can see, there are many causes of memory loss. Even sleep apnea can be a cause. Do you snore? Check everything out. Let us know what develops.