- FDA News
by Skippack Pharmacy
Did you know that Alzheimer’s disease is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 5.8 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s, and that number is projected to nearly trip to 14 million by 2060. The impact of this disease on patients, families, and caregivers is devastating, and the cost of caring for those affected is staggering. This is why early detection and intervention are crucial in the fight against Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases.
What is Alzheimer’s disease? Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, which is a condition that affects the brain and can cause problems with thinking, memory, and behavior. This is a progressive disease, which means that it may get worse over time. This may result in memory loss, difficulty with communication, and difficulty responding to the environment.
The disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer who, in 1906, observed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died due to an unusual mental illness. The woman’s symptoms included memory loss, language, problems, and unpredictable behavior. After her death, Dr. Alzheimer examined her brain and found abnormal clumps and tangled bundles of fibers. These structures are now known as amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary, or tau, tangles respectively.
What are the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease? As we grow older, it’s normal for our bodies and minds to change. But Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. The CDC and the Alzheimer’s Association have worked together to establish the Healthy Brain Initiative, which outlines the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease provided below as reference.
1) Memory loss that disrupts daily life: Forgetting events, repeating yourself or relying on more aids to help you remember (like sticky notes).
2) Challenges in planning or solving problems: Having trouble paying bills or cooking recipes you have used for years.
3) Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure: Having problems with cooking, driving places, using a cell phone, or shopping.
4) Confusion with time or place: Having trouble understanding an event that is happening later, or losing track of dates.
5) Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relations: Having more difficulty with balance or judging distance, tripping over things at home, or spilling or dropping things more often.
6) New problems with words in speaking or writing: Having trouble following or joining a conversation or struggling to find a word you are looking for (saying “that thing on your wrist that tells time” instead of “watch”).
7) Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps: Placing car keys in the washer or dryer or not being able to retrace steps to find something.
8) Decreased or poor judgment: Being a victim of a scam, not managing money well, paying less attention to hygiene, or having trouble taking care of a pet.
9) Withdrawal from work or social activities: Not wanting to go to church or other activities as you usually do, not being able to follow football games or keep up with what’s happening.
10) Changes in mood and personality: Getting easily upset in common situations or being fearful or suspicious.
If you are experiencing one or more of these 10 warning signs, it is important to see a doctor to determine the cause. Getting an early diagnosis can provide the opportunity to seek treatment and plan for the future.
Why is brain health important? Brain health is essential for overall well-being, and it’s important to take care of our brains as we age. Our brains control every aspect of our lives, from movement and sensation to memory and emotion. Controlling your health conditions, managing stress, mental wellness, regular exercise, a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep are all important for brain health. Staying socially active and mentally stimulated, such as by reading, doing puzzles, or learning new skills, can also help keep our brains sharp. However, even with a healthy lifestyle, cognitive decline can still occur. This is why early screening is so important.
What are the benefits of early cognitive screening? With early detection, patients can take steps to slow the progression of cognitive decline and improve their brain health. One of the benefits of early screening is that it allows patients to be proactive in managing their cognitive health. For example, if the test reveals early signs of cognitive decline, patients can work with their healthcare providers to develop a plan for improving brain health or seek further treatment from a specialist. Healthcare providers may recommend making lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity or adopting a more healthier diet, or engaging in cognitive exercises to promote a more active brain. By taking these steps early on, patients can slow the progression of cognitive decline and maintain their independence for longer.
Another benefit of early screening is that it allows patients to plan for the future. If a patient is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, they can work with their healthcare provider to develop a care plan that meets their specific needs and preferences. This can include making legal and financial arrangements, such as creating a power of attorney or setting up a trust, and identifying resources and support for caregivers.
Who can benefit from a cognitive health screening? -Middle school students who are at least 12 years of age or older –High school students –College students –Working professionals –Parents –Seniors –Gamers –Athletes –Individuals with chronic medical conditions –Individuals with a family history of cognitive decline –Individuals with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Looking to improve your brain health? What services does Skippack Pharmacy offer? At Skippack Pharmacy, we understand the importance of brain health for our patients. We serve a large adult population in our nearby area, and we know that cognitive decline is a concern for many of them. That’s why we’re proud to offer a new service called Cognivue Thrive, which provides cognitive function testing to our patients. This simple, non-invasive computer-based test measures your brain’s ability to process information, and can detect early signs of cognitive decline before symptoms appear. Upon completion, patients will receive a detailed report that explains how well they performed in areas such as memory, visuospatial abilities, executive function, reaction time, and processing speed. This report will provide them with a clear understanding of their results, so they can learn more about your strengths and potential areas for improvement. Additionally, patients can utilize their results as a conversation starter with their healthcare provider to discuss any concerns and seek further support if necessary.
If you’re concerned about your brain health or have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease, don’t wait until symptoms appear. Schedule a cognitive function test with Skippack Pharmacy and take control of your brain health today – please see more information and sign up for an appointment at the following link.
The information contained in this article is intended for educational and promotional purposes only. It is not intended as specific medical advice. Visit us in person and speak with a pharmacist for specific medication queries or consult with your healthcare provider for more specific medical conditions or health goals.
Author: Kishan Patel, Community Pharmacy Practice Extern