At 50 years of age, my wife was diagnosed with early onset dementia. Her cognitive abilities are impaired. She is functional, but I am seeing more small signs of lost abilities. The question I have is what should we be expecting with EO-Dem verses EO-ALZ? I know that if diagnosed with EO-ALZ, there is a very high probability of a life expectancy of less than 10 years. Can you give me some insights to any differences?

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Hi jtcaggie,

Here’s my question for your doctors: what type of dementia is it? Alzheimer’s disease is just one type of dementia, but it gets confusing. You’ll often hear doctors and other people say things like, “dementia and Alzheimer’s,” but this is kind of a misnomer. Alz is the most common form of dementia, but there are over 70 different potential causes of reversible and irreversible dementia. I describe dementia like this: it is an umbrella term–a lot like saying someone has cancer. Your first question would be, “Well, what type of cancer?” Dementia is a lot like this phrase. I hate that doctors gave you all an “Early Onset Dementia” diagnosis. To me, that indicates that they aren’t sure what type of dementia it is yet. For me to answer this, I need to know what the “dementia” is, but it seems like her doctors don’t even know. Keep me posted. I would love to help, and I hope you find out more information soon.

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Rachael Wonderlin has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of two published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. She owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting company.

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