A woman in the US has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia after visiting a doctor because she was worried about her mood swings.
Ms. Nelson, a 53-year-old woman who has two children and lives in Idaho Falls. As per the report from the New York Post, in 2017, Jana Nelson started developing a short temper and extreme mood swings. Ms. Nelson's family and friends pointed out that her personality had changed.
She said that she was repeating the same questions, which made her think she had become forgetful. Ms. Nelson also had problems keeping her balance while walking, making decisions, and controlling significant changes in her mood.
Ms. Nelson also quoted the New York Post that she had so much trouble regulating her emotions. She had become so furious over things she usually wouldn't be angry about like people correcting her if she said something wrong.
Further, she added that her doctor doesn't see her living into her 60s, and eventually, she is going to need round-the-clock care at home.
Ms. Nelson's consulting doctor asked her to undergo neurological tests, suggesting she might be suffering from multiple sclerosis or a brain tumor.
However, an MRI scan disclosed Stage 4 dementia, which had progressed to Stage 5. According to the Mayo Clinic, 5% to 6% of people with Alzheimer’s disease develop symptoms before the age of 65. Expressing this, Ms. Nelson described, "You think you'd know when something was really wrong, but I didn't realize things were bad to this extent. I was really devastated."
Ms. Nelson described the symptoms and tests as so scary. She is a college-educated businesswoman; why couldn't she do simple math problems and name different colors?
As per the report, before the diagnosis, Ms. Nelson thought of herself as a very knowledgeable person because she had studied psychology. The intensive neurological tests went on for two days, a process that Ms. Nelson found demoralizing and devastating. Ms. Nelson said she couldn't complete easy tasks such as solving number problems, remembering flashing light patterns, and naming different colors.
"I thought, 'Okay, it's dementia, but surely it must only be in the early stages'. But it wasn't; I have advanced dementia and a prognosis of 10 years to live," Ms. Nelson said.
The doctors are astonished that she is functioning as well as she was, as there were people with worse symptoms at earlier stages. Ms. Nelson is experiencing speech issues in the fifth stage of dementia. She also has a very limited vocabulary and could develop disorientation along with marked memory loss.
Ms. Nelson went viral last year after explaining to a follower what it feels like to live with dementia. She has been documenting her cognitive decline on TikTok, where she has connected to many middle-aged people suffering from similar conditions. She has made a few friends who are using their experiences as a roadmap for what to expect.
1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/in-depth/alzheimers/art-20048356# (Visited On January 30, 2024)
(Input from various sources)