In the Oscar-nominated film Still Alice, Julianne Moore portrays a woman diagnosed with a rare type of Alzheimer’s disease. The condition is known as familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD), and it is believed to account for approximately 2 to 3 percent of all Alzheimer’s cases. FAD is significantly different from traditional Alzheimer’s disease in a number of ways.
Causes of Familial Alzheimer’s
FAD is the result of specific mutations in PS1, AAP, and PS2 genes, which influence the body’s production of a protein called beta-amyloid. Clumps of beta-amyloid are typically found in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s and are believed to contribute to the development of the disease.
If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Green Valley home care company you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services.
Onset of FAD Symptoms
Unlike other forms of Alzheimer’s disease, FAD can develop in middle-aged adults. This creates a unique set of challenges for diagnosed individuals and their families. At the time of diagnosis, many people with FAD are actively working and building their careers and they may still have young children. Individuals with FAD are likely to experience higher incidences of depression and agitation than their senior counterparts. The spouses of the afflicted people may have to care for their loved ones, which can create physical, economic, and emotional hardships.
Risk Factors for Familial Alzheimer’s
To develop FAD, a person must have at least one parent with the necessary genetic mutation. A child of a parent with FAD has a 50 percent chance of developing the condition. However, the FAD mutation is very rare and has only been identified in approximately 200 family lines.
Performing daily tasks while simultaneously managing the symptoms of a serious illness can be challenging for seniors. The Green Valley live-in care experts at Home Care Assistance are available 24/7 to make sure your loved one has the care he or she needs to remain safe and comfortable while aging in place.
Genetic tests are available to determine if an individual carries the FAD gene mutation. However, those considering testing should speak with a genetic counselor and fully understand the benefits and drawbacks that come with knowing the results. Genetic testing only shows if a person is at high risk for the disease. It does not indicate when the symptoms could develop or how fast they may progress.
While healthy lifestyle choices and early treatment can potentially slow the progress of the disease, there is no cure for FAD. Knowing they have a high likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s can help people make informed decisions regarding career and other life choices. It also allows them to make sensible decisions regarding their future care needs.
Caring for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of cognitive decline can be challenging at times. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Green Valley, AZ, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. To learn about our premier senior care plans, call one of our professional Care Managers at 520-625-2050.