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What is rare or young onset dementia?


Dementia is a term referring to changes in our mental abilities to the extent that these changes affect our day-to-day functioning and worsen over time. Dementia can be caused by different diseases or conditions that affect the brain in different ways. Although Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia are the most common forms of dementia there are many.

The term rare dementia is normally used to refer to dementia diagnoses that are less common than Alzheimer’s disease, often occurring at a younger age (under 65), and can cause symptoms that are not memory-led.

They include but are not limited to:

Rarer forms of dementia can also be diagnosed at a later age.

Alzheimer’s disease can occur at a younger age and is referred to as young onset Alzheimer’s disease (YOAD).

Like the term dementia, young onset dementia is a term to indicate dementia occurring at a young age. Although frequently used, it does not distinguish the type of condition or disease (the medical diagnosis) that is causing someone’s dementia.

There are other types of dementia that can affect younger people such as:

  • Vascular dementia
  • Alcohol-related dementia
  • Mixed dementia
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • ALS

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