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Could I have PPA/early onset dementia?

Discussion in 'Memory concerns and seeking a diagnosis' started by DundeeMan, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. DundeeMan

    DundeeMan Registered User

    Sep 28, 2015
    Hi all,

    This is my first post here and i discovered the forum while looking for information about symptoms I've been experiencing.

    For the past few months I've been experiencing what I called difficulty accessing my vocabulary, or finding words as it more commonly seems to be described. Like most people, I've experienced tip-of-the-tongue feelings before but this was different. it didn't feel like the word was on the tip of my tongue, it felt more like a complete blank, even though I knew I knew the word I was searching for. Normally it would come after a few minutes or a few hours.

    The pauses in my speech seemed to be happening more regularly so I made the classic mistake of googling the symptoms. First up: Primary progressive Aphasia. I have been panicking ever since. I have also been fitting other possible symptoms in which make things appear worse. I maybe have been mispronouncing words more frequently. I do confuse certain items (tumble dryer, dish washer and washing machine etc), and I drive my wife crazy telling her to turn right instead of left when she's driving. Maybe I have been using different words from the ones I mean.

    I have been trying to stay calm and tell myself that, while not all aphasia/dementia sufferers are old, it would be highly unlikely that it could be the case given my age and profile.

    I am 36 years old and generally in good health apart from minor asthma and allergies and being around half-a-stone overweight. My job is in PR so I work with language more than most people and have a sideline writing and publishing. We have been approaching a deadline so I've really been putting the hours in and stressing about the situation. On top of that I have a 10-month-old son so it's not as if I haven't had a lot on my mind and I have wondered if this could be stress/tiredness related. Now that I've found out about PPA and early onset dementia I'm much more aware of my speech and language use and this is exacerbating my anxiety.

    I have an appointment with my GP this week so what I'm really looking for is information about what I should ask him as well as what I should look out for and what i should dismiss as being figments of my panicked imagination.

  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    Good luck with the GP visit. This is the right thing to do. When I had a ten month baby I could hardly hold my head up for tiredness - mind you I was already pregnant again. I hope you will get a good check up and a diagnosis of natural causes.
  3. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    It sounds like you're under a lot of stress. A visit to your GP is the best way forward.
  4. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    It's extremely rare to get dementia at 36. I am not saying it can't happen at all but it could well be stress-related or you're anaemic or deficient of a certain vitamin. So get the doctor to check it out and take some blood tests, then you will know more.
  5. Terri257

    Terri257 Registered User

    Jan 6, 2014
    Early onset dementia


    The dementia test is relatively basic like the day, the date, your name, address, dob, who is the PM, who is on the throne. You would be asked to remember three things then a couple of basic questions later you are asked to recall the three things. There is a mark out of 30 I think.

    It does seem what you are describing sounds more like stress. Stress, anxiety, depression etc can also impact concentration and memory recall. I sometimes think my memory is worse than my mums but mine is definitely down to stress. I feel like a whirling dervish sometimes with all the things I'm trying to do and I recognise that my memory has been affected because of depression. Lack of concentration has meant that I have set off to do something did a bunch of other things and forgot to do the thing I set out to do, got on the wrong train or turned up for an event on the wrong day. Frequently I can't find things in the house and forget the point I was trying to make mid sentence when talking.

    You are doing the right thing by going to the doctor. If it is stress, anxiety depression etc do ask if he can recommend some sort of treatment for you. Getting help in the mental health area often involves a long wait but exercise and trying some mindfulness techniques can be really, really helpful.
  6. DundeeMan

    DundeeMan Registered User

    Sep 28, 2015
    Thanks to everyone for taking the time to respond.

    Marionq - that's certainly what I'm hoping for. You were pregnant again after 10 months??? Much as a love my wee pudding one is enough for me! Certainly for the moment.

    Izzy - yes, fair bit of stress. There's been a lot of pressure on my time lately and, quite frankly, I've spread myself too thin.

    Beate - I know how rare it is and dementia wasn't even on my list of possibilities when I started looking into this. What worried me was how closely the definition of PPA described what I was going through. B-12 deficiency was one of the more favourable explanations so, from today, I'm taking multi-vitamins.

    Terri257 - sorry to hear what you're going through and hope it isn't causing you problems in the course of your life. I would say my memory is still pretty good but it's these problems with my language use that got me worried. From there I have looked at additional symptoms and convinced myself I experience most. Through the panic I am finding it hard to differentiate between genuine symptoms and anxiety-induced ones. I have to say that a combination of all these comments and my wife's reassurance have me thinking more clearly than I have for days.

    I was fairly hedonistic when I was younger but I've barely touched anything stronger than a pint in the past decade, quit smoking eight years ago and am no more than a moderate drinker these days. My exercise levels have dropped over the past year due to a combination of the baby arriving and the time that work takes up. I used to walk miles and miles each day but this has fallen away and I am making it a priority to reverse this trend.

    Thanks again to you all for being so welcoming, helpful and supportive. I realise you will all be going through a terrible ordeal with either your own health or that of your loved ones. Hopefully there will be a cure for this horrific disease one day but for the moment I can only say that I'm thinking of you all and hoping you have the support you need.
  7. betsie

    betsie Registered User

    Jun 11, 2012
    Hi, I don't think you are alone with this. I do similar and panic because both my parents have dementia.
    I couldn't think of the word "lawn mower" the other day and ended up saying the thing that cuts grass. Today I called a Rubic cube a Reebok cube.
    I have tons of examples. The more I do it the more I panic that I have dementia.
    But I have put it down to stress, my dad died this year and my mums dementia is worsening so my stress levels have been pretty high.

    Try and take a break, are you due any holiday days? If not try and make a few hours just for yourself maybe go for a run, swim, join gym or something were you can have time to yourself to de stress.

    Hopefully the doctor will reassure you.
  8. DundeeMan

    DundeeMan Registered User

    Sep 28, 2015
    Hi betsie,

    Yup. This morning I was trying to speak to my wife about a wicker basket in the bathroom and just couldn't get the word basket out so ended up describing the shape with my hands and saying 'the box we put toiletries in'. Even that sentence was hard for me as I'm sure there's a better way of explaining what I was doing with my hands but I can't think of the word or expression.

    I know everyone has these episodes but it's the increasing frequency that's bothering me as well as my relative youth. I know you'll recognise the panic that comes with each instance.

    in terms of taking a break, a big deadline (originally typed as headline) will be passed this week and a colleague who has been on holiday comes back to work so things should return to something approaching normal. I have a week off scheduled soon but am going to try and take another couple of days next week to just spend with my wife and baby.
  9. DundeeMan

    DundeeMan Registered User

    Sep 28, 2015
    I'm just back from seeing the doctor, who has strongly encouraged me to take a week off work.

    She listened patiently to me describe my symptoms, asked a lot of questions about how I've been feeling and generally couldn't have been nicer. She hasn't diagnosed stress or anything else, but did say it was the most likely cause of the problems I've been having.

    The doctor wasn't dismissive of my fears about aphasia etc but she did remind me of how rate it would be and suggested we look to deal with a possible case of stress/anxiety in the first instance. If the symptoms have not improved after that then she'll look for an alternative cause and seek a different treatment route.

    I'm getting some blood samples taken next week and have to make a follow-up appointment for results and to report on how I'm feeling after resting up for a bit.

    Here's hoping.
  10. marymmcc

    marymmcc Registered User

    Jan 7, 2016
    Toronto Canada
    PPA is rare and generally begins in one's 40's or 50's. The symptoms you have described - saying left instead of right, difficulties naming objects, etc are common. Mine started after an intense period of stress. Over time, the problems with speech worsened, such as very poor grammar, difficulty writing, using only short sentences, followed by problems multi-tasking and problem solving. Symptoms need to be evident for 2 years before a diagnosis of PPA is given. There can be other causes of aphasia such as small strokes that are worth looking into. I think you will need an MRI of the brain, and possibly a brain perfusion test. I have a "working" diagnosis of PPA, non-fluent type. However my neurologist is waiting for more symptoms to appear before giving a formal diagnosis. I am 57 years old. You really should see a neurologist. Good luck

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