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    What are the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease?

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Posted on Mon, 3 Jul 2017 in Brain and Spine
Question: I went to the doctor because I had a bad headache and wanted to get a CT scan. I got a CT scan and the doctor said she found some plaque on my brain but had nothing to do with the headache. thats all she said.

I am 29 years old have no symptoms of Alzheimer's that I know of and no one in my family has it. i have some questions:

should i be worried?
am i going to get early onset alzheimers?
does having plaque on your brain mean you're going to get it?
doesn't everyone have plaque on their brain?
is there any way to remove the plaque before it's too late?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Dariush Saghafi 7 hours later
Brief Answer:
The doctor's comments are not specific enough for a good differential

Detailed Answer:
Good evening. If the only symptom you are suffering from is headache without any family history of aneurysms or spontaneous intracranial bleeds or mass lesions such tumors, etc. then, I'm not sure why the CT was obtained. We (neurologists) typically will not lean toward any type of imaging unless there are neurological abnormalities that would make it much more likely to find something of importance. A statement of "plaques" with nothing more to say is not a statement that I would interpret as implying something of an important nature.

As a neurologist, I rarely employ CT scans and much prefer MRI. First of all, CT scan utilize X-rays and MRI does not therefore, from a radiation exposure point of view an MRI is preferable but again, in a patient with headache and no neurological symptoms or signs suggesting the presence of a mass lesion in the head I would've more likely than not done a more indepth interview of the headaches and given you a HEADACHE LOG to use for the next few weeks since the more likely possibility is that you are suffering from some form of headache disorder. The most common types of headaches in a person of your age if just a one time deal would be a headache due to a stressful circumstance causing anxiety. Stress is the #1 trigger for all types of headaches.

If you are suffering from headaches on a more frequent basis or even if once in awhile then, again we could be talking about tension type headaches or migraine headaches.

I would dissuade you rapidly from a diagnosis of Alzheimer's....not sure why that thought is coming up since it is really only seen with frequency in patients who are 3-4 decades your XXXXXXX Only the most isolated cases of PATHOLOGICALLY PROVEN Alzheimer's have ever been documented in folks <40 years of age.

Headache as a presenting symptom of Alzheimer's is not known to occur. I see no evidence in what you state nor the way you write to indicate any time of cognitive disability or deteriorative pathology.....especially NOT Alzheimer's for the reasons I stated above.

As I said, I cannot really put an interpretation on what the doctor said about plaque since it really makes no sense in the setting of what you're describing. Perhaps, uploading a PDF copy of the actual radiology report would be of value. Even the CT scan itself could be uploaded in a .jpg format and I'd be happy to interpret it but "plaque" on a CT scan in a 29 year old definitely DOES NOT signal to my mind as a neurologist any type of neurodegenerative cognitive disorder such as Alzheimer's.

Having plaque "on the brain" is not normal for anyone. Again, I don't think you should pay too much attention to that statement in the light of the fact that the doctor neither seemed to explain it to you in any detail nor did she send you for a more confirmatory and detailed study such as an MRI nor did she suggest you see a neurologist.

Bottom line- I would not let these comments weigh on your mind and if you're interested in details I would either ask to speak with the doctor in order to get a detailed interpretation or if she is unable to do so a referral to a qualified specialist such as a headache doctor or neurologist.

If you'd like to upload either the CT report or the scans themselves feel free to do so and I'm happy to give you an explanation of what is actually there and what should be done.

Otherwise, if I've provided useful and helpful information to your questions could you do me a huge favor by CLOSING THE QUERY and be sure to include some fine words of feedback along with a 5 STAR rating? Again, many thanks for submitting your inquiry and please let me know how things turn out.

Do not forget to contact me in the future at: www.bit.ly/drdariushsaghafi for additional questions, comments, or concerns having to do with this topic or others.

This query has utilized a total of 20 minutes of professional time in research, review, and synthesis for the purpose of formulating a return statement.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D
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Follow up: Dr. Dariush Saghafi 27 minutes later
I went back to look over the report to see if I heard her wrong and I think I did. I think she was talking about the plaque in my left vertebral artery. I thought she was talking about beta amyloid plaque. the reason I got CT scan is because I'm a hypochondriac. I attached the report below hopefully you can give me more insight.

one more question: could you detect beta amyloid with a CT scan? is there anything I should be worried about or am I okay?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Dariush Saghafi 17 hours later
Brief Answer:
Normal imaging of the brain

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for the uploaded document which verified what I suspected and that is that there are no abnormalities in the brain to speak of which fully explains why the doctor chose not to really pursue a further workup or other tests, etc.

I'm sorry that you suffer from what is archaically referred to as hypochondriasis that goes by the more modern terminology of "health anxiety" or in your case more appropriately, "illness anxiety" referring to a situation where a person is more anxious or fearful of contracting a particular illness as opposed to "health anxiety" or "somatic disorder" where the person has symptoms which they feel convinced represent a specific disease process.

There are effective ways to treat either type of disorder but this would be the domain really of counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists as opposed to a primary medical doctor or a specialist such as a neurologist.

Beta amyloid plaque is not detectable by CT scan. As I mentioned previously, in my opinion, your presenting symptoms give no cause to worry or alarm of anything of importance. You are far too young for AD and it wouldn't XXXXXXX me in the least if by the time you get to an age where that might be an issue that somebody will not have figured it out.

Thank you for your questions.

Again, if I've provided useful or helpful information to your questions could you do me a favor of CLOSING THE QUERY and being sure to include some fine words of feedback along with a 5 STAR rating? Many thanks for submitting your inquiry and please let me know how things turn out.

Do not forget to contact me in the future at: www.bit.ly/drdariushsaghafi for additional questions, comments, or concerns having to do with this topic or others.

This query has utilized a total of 40 minutes of professional time in research, review, and synthesis for the purpose of formulating a return statement.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee
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Dr. Dariush Saghafi

Neurologist

Practicing since :1988

Answered : 2474 Questions

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