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Early-Onset Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease Affecting Younger Americans

Date:
May 21, 2020

To: All Providers

While dementia is often associated with seniors, a growing number of adults between the ages of 30 and 65 are suffering from the disease. In fact, the average age of someone living with early-onset dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is 49 years old, and women are more affected than men.

This is the conclusion of a recent collaborative study by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and Blue Health Intelligence (BHI) as part of The Health of America Report® series.* 

The study also showed that diagnosis rates increased 200% from 2013 to 2017. In 2017, early-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s disease together affected 131,000 commercially insured Americans between the ages of 30 and 64.

As there is no definitive test for early-onset dementia, diagnosis is based primarily on symptoms. Yet many often undergo different forms of testing and treatment before diagnosis. 

In the year prior to diagnosis, 86% had received brain imaging, 57% had filled a prescription for an antidepressant, and about 40% who were ultimately diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease had previously been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, or cognitive or behavioral changes.

Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disease and form of dementia characterized by progressive brain deterioration, memory loss and increasing inability to perform everyday activities. According to the study, these health conditions are more common in women (58%), and those diagnosed at an early age will likely need support from a caregiver as they grow older and their condition progresses.

For help diagnosing and supporting patients with early-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s disease visit:

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