What is the Most Common Age for Alzheimer's to Begin?

For most individuals with Alzheimer's, the symptoms of late-onset disease typically appear in their mid-60s or later. When the condition develops before the age of 65, it is referred to as early-onset Alzheimer's, which can start as early as 30 years old, although this is rare. Generally, those with early-onset Alzheimer's will experience symptoms between 30 and 60 years old. It is important to note that having a family history of Alzheimer's does not necessarily mean that a genetic mutation is present in an individual or family.

Similarly, a lack of family history does not guarantee that a person will not develop early-onset Alzheimer's. It is possible to develop the disease for reasons other than changes in three genes. If you have early-onset Alzheimer's related to one of these genes or you carry a form of these genes without symptoms, it is recommended that you speak with your doctor about participating in a research study. By studying the early-onset form of Alzheimer's, researchers hope to gain more insight into the causes and progression of the disease and develop new treatments.

An accurate diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer's is essential to rule out other possible treatable causes and begin appropriate treatment. Additionally, Alzheimer's can have slightly different characteristics in younger people, which can lead to misdiagnosis and delay appropriate treatment, negatively impacting quality of life. The Alzheimer's Association created the Longitudinal Study on Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease (LEADS) to learn more about the disease, including its causes and possibilities for early detection. Age is the main risk factor for Alzheimer's, as it is for most types of dementia. This means that a person is more likely to develop Alzheimer's as they age; above 65, a person's risk doubles approximately every five years.

It is normal for people to forget things more as they age; however, in the case of dementia, the changes are different, more serious and will affect life more significantly. People who lead a healthy lifestyle, especially starting in middle age (40 to 65 years old), are less likely to develop Alzheimer's. This includes not smoking, not drinking too much alcohol, and following a healthy diet. Together, these three genes are present in less than 1% of people with Alzheimer's but in about 11% of those with early-onset disease. It is essential for individuals who may be at risk for early-onset Alzheimer's to be aware of the signs and symptoms so they can seek medical attention if necessary. Early diagnosis and treatment can help slow down the progression of the disease and improve quality of life.