“An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
One of the number one fears people have with genetic testing is finding out if they have the genetic precursors for Alzheimer’s Disease. If this is the case, they fear they will subsequently lose their ability to function and think clearly in later life.
A growing body of research demonstrates the role of preventative care and treatment of cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s Disease. Despite the well-established physiological and genetic links and risk factors.
What This Article Covers
In this article, I’ll cover the following:
- A new perspective on Alzheimer’s prevention
- Different health practitioner options (if you are already experiencing early symptoms of cognitive decline or want to reduce your risk)
So what should you do with a family history of Alzheimer’s?
A New Perspective to Consider
Based on the growing body of research of Dr. Dale Bredesen from The Apollo Health Institute over the last 30 years, we are learning that Alzheimer’s is not a uni-dimensional disease that can be treated using a ‘monotherapy’ – such as a pharmaceutical targeting one factor.
Alzheimer’s is a multifactorial illness, with contributors (such as stress, poor sleep, environmental exposures, diet, and movement) that all play a role in its progression.
The Apollo Health Institute has helped countless individuals to prevent and even reverse Alzheimer’s disease before it reaches its later stages.
Keeping the above in mind, it behooves the individual with a family history of Alzheimer’s to seek a healthcare provider and the appropriate resources to alter the course of the disease. This is done through small steps over weeks and years that eventually change the course of disease progression in a positive direction (while improving overall cognitive and physical health in the process).
Types of Clinicians to Consider
1. Primary Care Practitioner
If you are already experiencing symptoms of cognitive decline (such as memory deficits, disorientation in time and space, or difficulty completing familiar tasks), consider seeing your primary care provider for a wellness assessment and general checkup to screen for red flags.
PCPs can also be helpful for a referral to a Neuropsychologist or a Neurologist for diagnosis and screening.
We always recommend minimum yearly checkups with your primary care physician. This is to ensure the basic standard of care and ensure there aren’t any other red flags in your physical health that can lead to more significant problems down the road or contribute to any cognitive symptoms you may be experiencing.
If you are experiencing new symptoms of cognitive decline, requesting a referral from your Primary Care Practitioner to a Neuropsychologist may be an excellent place to start.
Although Neuropsychologists are not able to provide pharmaceutical treatment, they are often the best practitioners in terms of assessing cognitive function as well as providing a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and other forms of cognitive impairment (such as ADHD).
Neuropsychologists do not offer brain imaging (fMRI, MRI, PET, CT, or EEG’s). However, they may refer an individual to another practitioner who does, such as a Neurologist.
They may use assessment tools such as…
- ADAS-Cog (Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive)
- MMES (Mini-Mental State Examination)
- The MoCA test (Montreal Cognitive Assessment)
This is a great place to start if you are experiencing any subjective symptoms of cognitive impairment.
Suppose you are already experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and you’ve had an assessment from a Neuropsychologist suggesting significant impairment in cognitive function. In that case, you may be referred to a neurologist who can complete screening tests and imaging and provide pharmacological treatment if necessary.
A neurologist can provide requisitions for imaging and genetic testing, blood testing, and CSF testing.
Unfortunately, the current gold standard treatment options do not typically produce significant improvements. However, they may slow the progression of the illness.
4. Functional Medicine Doctor
If you are experiencing early symptoms of cognitive impairment, or are simply concerned about your family history of Alzheimer’s, a certified functional medicine practitioner certified in the Bredesen Protocol with the Apollo Health Institute may be a great choice.
These kinds of individuals will be able to connect you with functional genetic testing as well as comprehensive lab work to examine your risk factors for Alzheimer’s.
Suppose you have genes such as specific variants of APOE or lab work indicating high blood sugar or inflammation that increases your risk. In that case, they are a great resource to act preventatively or treat early to mid stages of Alzheimer’s.
As previously mentioned, Alzheimer’s is multifactorial, and a root cause approach is usually the best route for symptom prevention and reversal.
5. Naturopathic Physician
Just like a certified Functional Medicine MD, a Naturopathic Physician who has completed training with the Bredesen Institute through Apollo Health will likely be a great option to work with preventatively or in the case of early symptomatology.
They will examine factors such as inflammation, environmental factors, blood sugar levels, genetics, and hormones to determine the underlying pathology leading to symptoms of cognitive decline.
Suppose you have Alzheimer’s in your family and some genetic and physiological markers that increase your chances of developing Alzheimer’s. In that case, you likely want to work with a Bredesen-certified practitioner. These protocols can improve your overall health and cognitive function regardless of whether you have symptoms of cognitive decline or not.
6. Certified Health Coach
Many certified Health Coaches have undergone extensive training in health and lifestyle medicine.
Those certified through the Apollo Institute have been pre-screened regarding their health training and have also undergone further specialized training to implement Alzheimer’s protocols.
If you do not have symptoms of Alzheimer’s but would like to examine some of the physiological contributors and risk factors that could be contributors, working with a Bredesen-trained health coach would be a great place to start.
They have all the knowledge and tools necessary to provide the appropriate information in diagnostics, diet, supplements, and lifestyle changes to target the prevention of Alzheimer’s and put your mind at ease.
It may be helpful to know that if you are not experiencing any subjective symptoms of cognitive impairment (like disorientation or memory deficits), your personal experience is likely to correlate with clinical findings (suggesting you do not have cognitive decline, as observed by clinicians at the Bredesen Institute).
While many view an Alzheimer’s diagnosis as fatalistically (and even more are unaware of its often preventable nature), we at Tiger Medical Institute aim to spread awareness of cognitive health and optimization.
Tiger Medical Institute empowers people to change their health trajectory. Through knowledge of integrating complementary and conventional health care, we are equipped with the tools to treat and prevent chronic illness through early testing and symptom management.
Alzheimer’s Disease is a multifactorial, chronic neurological condition whose standard of care has sadly not caught up with advances in medicine and research in many ways.
The licensed physicians at Tiger Medical Institute are trained in assessing, treating, and preventing chronic complex conditions (such as Alzheimer’s) using a root-cause functional approach.
Tiger Medical Institute uses genetic and biomarker testing to determine your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and assess your overall cognitive and physical health.
To learn more, review these additional articles on Alzheimer’s and cognitive health:
- Is Alzheimer’s Genetic or Hereditary?
- Can Alzheimer’s Be Prevented?
- 5 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Book a call today if you want to move forward and speak to a professional at our company to learn even more about your options.