Daily Lessons from Life 07 June 2018 - Younger dementia patients?
"He’s 48, and already grappling with dementia
SINGAPORE: He was once an accomplished teacher and published author of two chemistry books. But two years ago, when he was only 46, Mr George Chong was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s, an uncommon form of dementia.
There was no cure, the doctor told him – and he slowly began to lose control of his daily life. Over time, he found it hard to follow instructions, do simple calculations and, sometimes, even distinguish his right hand from his left.
“Because of Alzheimer’s, I was very agitated. It was so bad that I even scolded my wife: ‘Why didn’t you take care of me?’” said a fit-looking Mr Chong, who was an avid long-distance runner before the diagnosis.
When he could not even fill in a form and struggled to speak logically, his wife of 23 years Lynn Chong tried to dissuade him from resuming work at their tuition centre. At first, he refused to accept the reality.
“He said, ‘If I’m back at work … I’ll be back to my old self,’” she recounted. “One month later, one of his colleagues called me and asked me if something was wrong. They found out that George was very forgetful.”
What is clear is that the two leading causes of young-onset dementia are Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
The latter develops when mini strokes occur in the brain. Over time, these undetected blood clots damage blood vessels and, eventually, parts of the brain. The more common cause, however, is Alzheimer’s, a neurodegenerative disease that causes brain cell death.
And when young-onset dementia results, especially as early as the age of 50, it is partly a genetic inheritance, noted Associate Professor Philip Yap, the director of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital’s Geriatric Centre.
“Having a family member with young-onset dementia would definitely increase the risk … (to) the children,” he said.
He added that the rising number of younger patients being diagnosed is also partly caused by the upward trend in lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, with more people suffering a stroke at a younger age."
Watched this clip the other night n it was very depressing to c a fit n young person becoming dementia n nothing much could b done for him.
It is probably the most dreaded medical condition for me. To forget abt everything including who u r is definitly unimaginable. In fact if i hv a choice, i will end my life just like the recent Aussie celebrated pŕofessor who went to a place to hv euthanasia despite an inspirational quote i learned: "The old man who visited his demented wife when told why he bothered since she could not recognise him said: 'Precisely i will always visit her as i STILL recognise HER while she cannot recognise me!!'"