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4 Important Facts About Familial Alzheimer’s Disease

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Most people understand Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition that leads to a loss of memory and cognitive function, but many are surprised to learn there are rare variants of Alzheimer’s that have different symptoms. Familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD) is an inherited version of the condition that only occurs among 3 percent of people with Alzheimer’s. Here are a few important facts you should know about familial Alzheimer’s disease.

1. You Only Need One Parent with FAD to Inherit It

Unlike most recessively inherited medical conditions, FAD can develop in any person as long as he or she has one parent with FAD. Each child of a person with FAD has a 50 percent chance of developing the condition. Though this might make it seem like FAD spreads very rapidly, it is still rather rare. There are only 200 known families that carry the FAD gene. 

If your loved one has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, now is the best time to plan for long-term care at home. Many older adults are choosing to age in place, and some need a helping hand to continue living at home safely and comfortably. Luckily, there is professional at-home senior care Omaha seniors can trust and rely on.

2. Symptoms of FAD Occur Much Earlier

Though FAD causes memory loss and cognitive decline just like normal Alzheimer’s disease, these symptoms show up much earlier than they do in seniors with Alzheimer’s or early-onset Alzheimer’s. People with FAD may find their cognitive decline starts as early as the age of 30. Because it starts so early, those with FAD may find it more difficult to manage professional and personal relationships. In addition to having symptoms that appear earlier, FAD can also lead to a faster progression of the disease. However, this is not always the case. Some people with FAD may not show symptoms until they are in their 80s.

The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging for both seniors and their families. However, these challenges can be made less stressful with the help of caregivers trained in professional Alzheimer’s care. Omaha, Nebraska, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

3. You Can Take a Test to Find Out If You Have FAD

Since doctors have already found the three genes that cause FAD, you can get genetic testing to see if you will inherit this condition. These gene mutations seem to cause FAD by creating abnormally developed proteins that clump along the brain cells and cause damage. If you have a parent with FAD, it is wise to find out whether or not you inherited the condition as soon as possible. This allows you to make plans for your future and decide whether or not you want to risk having children.

4. The Disease’s Progression Depends on the Type You Have

Though FAD is often viewed as one distinctive disease, it is actually divided into three different subtypes depending on which genetic mutation a person has. APP gene mutations lead to a type of FAD that appears when a person is between 40 to 65 years old, and it causes particularly aggressive dementia. Those with a PS1 mutation start to display symptoms around 35 to 55 years of age, and they may experience more seizures than other Alzheimer’s variants. FAD caused by a PS2 gene mutation may develop the condition anywhere between 45 to 88 years of age, and it has a more typical presentation of symptoms.

If your senior loved one has Alzheimer’s disease and you need help managing his or her care needs, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Omaha families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation. For reliable in-home care services, contact Home Care Assistance at (402) 261-5158.