Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Disease Lab Tests and health information

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One in nine people ages 65 and older and live in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease. This is more than 11% of the population, and the number is only growing.

Even though the prevalence of the disease and the population of elderly individuals is increasing, there still isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s. Recent research studies are showing promise, but nothing is proven.

Therefore, anyone who thinks that they or a loved one may have the condition needs to get Alzheimer’s blood tests. These can help patients and their providers detect Alzheimer’s early, and this early diagnosis can slow the progression of the disease.

Keep reading if you're interested in learning more about how these blood tests can help Alzheimer's patients.

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurological disorder. Over time, the cells of the brain die, and the brain shrinks in size. 

This loss of brain matter leads to a cognitive decline, meaning that patients may experience a loss of thinking, behavioral, and social skills.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, a disease marked by a continuous decline in thinking ability.

What Are the Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease?

The most notable risk factor is a person's age. As you get older, you're more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease.

With this information, it's important to distinguish the fact that Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging. The degradation that comes with Alzheimer's disease is not the same as the degradation that comes with the aging process.

Another risk factor is genetics. If an immediate family member has the disease, it's more likely that you'll have it as well. 

Individuals that carry the Alzheimer's gene are likely to carry the ApoE genotype as well. However, having the gene for the disease does not necessarily mean that you're going to develop the condition.

Another risk factor for Alzheimer's disease is pre-existing Down syndrome. Although the scientific community doesn't understand the link between the two conditions, they tend to agree it has to do with the extra chromosome copy found in individuals with Down syndrome.

Some scientists believe that the link between Down syndrome and Alzheimer's exists because of an early susceptibility. Patients with Down syndrome are likely to begin developing signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's 10 to 20 years before those without the pre-existing condition. So, some researchers think that this early susceptibility gives the body more time to develop the condition.

What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease?

No one knows the exact causes of Alzheimer's disease. People have speculated over the years but haven't settled on a finite answer.

However, researchers believe that the development of the disease has to do with a regulation failure in the brain. More specifically, scientists believe that the proteins in the brain may not be working properly, which causes the cells to fail and triggers a series of toxic events.

Over time, this kills neurons and causes brain damage, leading to worsening signs and symptoms.

Scientists have also stated that they believe that the condition develops as a result of environmental and genetic influences. People with genetic ties to the condition have been able to conquer the gene; however, you shouldn't rely on lifestyle changes to ensure that you'll never develop the condition.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease?

The number one symptom of Alzheimer's disease is memory loss. You may start noticing that you or your loved one can't recollect everyday information.

They may not know family members' names or similar information.

Here are a few other signs of Alzheimer's disease that you may notice in a family member or friend who is developing the disease:

  • Repeating statements and/or questions.
  • Forgetting conversations, events, appointments, etc.
  • Getting lost in places that they've been before.
  • Misplacing items that they own.
  • Having trouble identifying everyday objects.
  • Making wrong decisions that are uncharacteristic for the individual.
  • Changing personality traits quickly.

If you are displaying these symptoms, you should see a doctor. Even if it's not Alzheimer's, there could be another issue that you need to address. You shouldn't wait until it's too late.

What Are the Lab Tests for Alzheimer’s Disease?

To detect Alzheimer’s disease, physicians have to look for several different kinds of biomarkers. Here are some of the most common lab tests that physicians use to test for Alzheimer's disease:

  • C-reactive protein - a general test to look at inflammation levels in the body.
  • Cardio IQ ApoE genotype - a test to determine if you have the Alzheimer's gene or not.
  • Complete blood count - evaluates the levels and presence of different types of blood cells.
  • Comprehensive metabolic panel - a test that provides a broad look at your health as it evaluates liver and kidney function and various nutrient levels.
  • Sedimentation rate - a general test to look at the rate of inflammation in the body.
  • Total T4 - a test that aids in the diagnosis of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, which could be an alternative diagnosis for mental changes in a patient.
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone - a test that can help in the diagnosis of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
  • Vitamin B12 - looks for the levels of B12 in the bloodstream to make sure that blood and DNA production is normal.

Together, all of these lab tests and results can help your physician determine whether or not you have Alzheimer's disease. At the same time, it can help them figure out if you're presenting other illnesses. These conditions could be contributing to extraneous symptoms or exacerbating existing symptoms.

Take control of your health today with Ulta Lab Tests.