When to start screening for Alzheimer's (it's earlier than you think)

When to start screening for Alzheimer's (it's earlier than you think)

The statistics surrounding Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are grim and worsening:

  • Currently, 55 million people worldwide have some form of dementia.

  • 78 million are expected to have it by 2030, and 139 million by 2050

  • The global financial burden from dementia was $1.3 trillion in 2019 and is expected to rise to US$ 2.8 trillion by 2030.

One of the biggest concerns for people surrounding these truly terrifying diseases is that most people don’t know they have it until they start getting symptoms, which means it has already progressed significantly.

The problem is that there is no single test that can thoroughly gauge total risk. Nonetheless, if we consider the known risk factors for Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, we quickly realize there are essential evidence-based preventative measure we can utilize to prevent cognitive decline decades before it takes hold.

Alzheimer's & your heart

In a recent podcast, Dr. Rhonda Patrick discussed the connection between cardiovascular health and brain decline with researcher, Dr. Axel Montagne. They review the evidence surrounding microvascular (tiny vessels smaller than a hair follicle) health and brain health. The reality is that we have better access to assessing and addressing the heart and vessels earlier than we have information about the brain. Simple labs, blood pressure readings and non-invasive carotid artery ultrasound techniques give us a comprehensive risk assessment for cardiovascular function. With that information, we can improve microvascular health and the delivery of oxygen and nutrients across the blood brain barrier. 

Alzheimer's prevention and early intervention

Dr. Dale Bredesen is responsible for groundbreaking research around Alzheimer's prevention and even reversal in early stages. He developed and published impressive results applying a multi-factorial protocol called the ReCODE Method. His research and protocol assess and effectively address factors including:

  • Nutritional status
  • Blood sugar balance
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Sleep quality
  • Hormone status
  • Latent infections & toxin exposure
  • Exercise
  • Inflammation
  • Brain injury 
  • Genetic status 

How do we apply this research clinically?

We refer to this approach as "test, don't guess." This means we assess your unique risk factors based on lifestyle, symptoms, health and family history. From there, we order appropriate labs, imaging and other diagnostics to establish a baseline and identify your unique risk factors. Together, we build a reasonable treatment protocol to improve risk factors and reverse the trajectory of disease. At regular intervals, we then retest laboratory markers to confirm that our interventions as effective and your risk is declining.

When to start assessing risk

We strongly suggest establishing a baseline and identifying potential risk factors at age 40. Researchers warn that early signs of cognitive decline begin as early as 45 years old. This means, that on average, if we can get a 5-year head start on prevention and the identification of your unique risk factors we can change the course of disease before signs (and damage) have progressed.  

The good news is that with the right screening and guidance, you can largely protect your cognitive health. Moreover, a comprehensive approach to protecting and optimizing the brain means that you've protected and optimized the health of your whole body.  This is an expansive strategy for overall improved health and longevity.

To schedule your cognitive screening, click here