Dementia is called early dementia when it develops in people under the age of 65. Its onset affects all aspects of a person’s life, including family relationships and work. However, the diagnosis of this condition is often delayed: early-onset dementia can be diagnosed 2–6 years after the onset of symptoms. This is due to the fact that it is considered to be a disease of old people; alertness about its appearance in young people is low.
Early-onset dementia is associated with:
- a high likelihood of rare forms of dementia affecting behavior and social life;
- frequent familial cases of dementia;
- difficulties at work for both the sick person and his partner;
- serious financial difficulties associated, for example, with loans and children;
- the patient has a younger and more dependent family;
- strong psychological pressure on family members.
Scientists from the Netherlands analyzed data from 95 studies that covered more than 2.7 million patients. The studies included information on different types of dementia: frontotemporal, vascular, Alzheimer’s disease, and others.
According to their calculations, the prevalence of dementia in people aged 30-64 years is 119 per 100 thousand people. This means that about 3.9 million people currently live with early-onset dementia.
In age subgroups, the prevalence was different: among people 30-34 years old – 1.1 per 100 thousand, 60-64 years old – 74 per 100 thousand. The risk of early-onset dementia is roughly the same in men and women.
The scientists noted that the data they obtained are higher than previously expected. However, they believe that the new figures are also an underestimate due to the lack of quality research. In their opinion, clear data should help improve care for people suffering from early dementia.