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Q: How do Harrisburg doctors diagnose early onset Alzheimer’s disease?

Early onset Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disorder that causes nerve cells in our brain to break their connections with other cells and die. This disrupts the way signals containing our thoughts, feelings, and memories travels through the brain and causes the loss of intellectual ability, also known as dementia.

While most people are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease after the age of 65, about five percent of those diagnosed with the disease develop symptoms before the age of 65, often in their 40s and 50s. This is known as early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

There are many disorders that can cause memory problems and some, such as those caused by a vitamin deficiency or thyroid disorder, can be successfully treated and reversed. Other types of memory problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease, are not reversible at this time.

There is no definitive test for Alzheimer’s disease, but doctors can diagnose it with 90 percent certainty. To come up with a diagnosis of probable Alzheimer’s disease, they take a thorough medical history, run a brain scan and laboratory tests, and conduct neurological tests to assess memory, problem solving abilities, language skills, and ability to concentrate.

Although a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s disease is devastating, proper diagnosis is critical so that patients can begin treatment to manage their symptoms and make plans for the future. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, the Social Security Administration will expedite your application as part of the Compassionate Allowance (CAL) initiative.

If your Social Security disability benefit application has been denied, contact a skilled Social Security Disability lawyer at Schmidt Kramer for help with your appeal. We regularly help clients just like you to obtain the benefits you are due. The number is (717) 888-8888, and the case consultation is free.