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Early Dementia On the Rise Updated: 2011-11-05 00:00:00 KST

This is a scene from the TV drama "The Thousand-Day Promise."
It centers around a young woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
The program is striking a chord with a number of young women, who say they can relate to the frustrating loss of memory that the lead character is going through.

"I could relate with her. I also often forget things, like where I put things and stuff."

"There was a time when I moved from one place to another, only to forget why I went there at all."

Just like the ill-fated actress in the drama, statistics show that the number of young dementia patients in Korea is on the rise.
Data released by the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service show that the number of dementia patients under the age of 40 more than doubled in a four-year period, from 108 cases in 2006 to 245 cases last year.

Doctors say the causes of Alzheimer's in younger people range from genetic reasons and external shock, to environmental factors like pollution.
While the condition might sound similar to simply being forgetful, there are differences.

"Forgetting the time and venue of an appointment can be absent-mindedness. But Alzheimer's patients completely forget ever having made an appointment."

Other signs of dementia include forgetting critical information like your age and address and failure to figure out a daily routine.
But experts say you shouldn't jump to any conclusions.
When in doubt, they recommend you consult with a doctor, who might order a CAT scan and MRI tests for a clear diagnosis.
Park Jong-hong Arirang News.
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