One of the complicated things about Alzheimer’s disease is that there is not one single test that can detect it. Instead, doctors perform a variety of tests and look at the signs and symptoms the person is experiencing. Because doctors cannot diagnose Alzheimer’s disease until signs appear, older adults receive treatment for the disease only after damage to the brain has begun. Recent research, though, may have brought scientists one step closer to developing a blood test to detect the disease.
Blood Test May Detect Alzheimer’s Biomarkers
Researchers presented a study at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2019 that showed a blood test may be able to find the proteins that collect in the brain with Alzheimer’s. These proteins are what cause neurons to die.
The study involved 201 participants who had either mild cognitive dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or a form of dementia that was not Alzheimer’s. The blood test the scientists developed was able to find the build up of amyloid precursor proteins (APP) with 93 percent accuracy.
If the test proves to be viable, it could mean that someday doctors might be able to perform a simple blood test during regular checkups to look for signs of the dangerous proteins that suggest Alzheimer’s. Then, people could begin receiving treatment much sooner than they can today.
Current Method of Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
Currently, diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease is a much lengthier process. Because there isn’t a test for the condition, doctors must also rule out other conditions that can cause Alzheimer’s-like symptoms. That involves performing a physical exam to determine if the patient has other conditions that can cause cognitive impairment, such as a past stroke, depression, or Parkinson’s disease. After that, the diagnosis may involve the following steps:
- Speaking with the senior and their family members about the senior’s overall health, the medicines they use, what they eat, any medical issues they have had in the past, if they are able to complete regular daily activities, and whether the senior’s behavior and personality have been affected.
- Tests to evaluate memory, problem solving, attention, language, and counting.
- Brain scans, such as a CT scan, MRI, or PET scan, which will help the doctor to see if other conditions might be causing the problems.
These tests are sometimes repeated to see how the person’s abilities and memory change over time. Even with all these steps, at present, Alzheimer’s disease can only really be definitively diagnosed after a person dies and the brain tissue is examined during an autopsy.
If your aging relative is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, involving home care early on can ensure your loved one receives the very best of care as their memory worsens. Home care providers can stay with your aging relative while family caregivers are at work or attending to other things. While keeping an eye on the older adult, home care providers can also do things like prepare meals for them, tidy up the house, and engage them in meaningful activities that prevent boredom.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Home Care in Oro Valley, AZ please contact the caring staff at Sunlife Home Care today at (877) 888-1311.