Brain Health

Brain Health Assessment Lab Tests and health information

Order a brain health assessment to evaluate your blood biomarkers and underlying conditions that may lead to a decline in cognitive health that can lead to serious health issues, including dementia, impacting a person's quality of life as they grow older. Order your blood tests for brain health from Ulta Lab Tests and learn about your health today.

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About one billion people around the world have a brain-related health issue. These kinds of problems stem from electrolyte imbalances, nerve issues, oxygen deficiencies, and other issues.

Since your brain is the control center of your entire body, your brain health can affect the rest of your body. That's why you need regular brain health lab tests. 

With the findings that you discover through your brain health assessments, you can make necessary changes to improve your physical and mental health.

Keep reading to learn all that you need to know.

What Is a Decline in Brain Health?

There is no universally recognized definition for brain health, but researchers know that a decline in brain health is marked by changes that negatively impact your quality of life.

Since the brain works throughout the entire body, signals of decline in brain health can manifest in many different ways. However, a patient with brain decline will notice slower physical and mental states overall.

Usually, a decline in brain health has to do with brain disease or disorder. These conditions can cause physical damage to the brain, leading to a myriad of symptoms throughout the body.

These conditions that affect the brain may come from genetic factors, past or present illnesses, or mechanical injuries. Depending on their origin and what kind of damage they cause, patients could have completely different experiences.

Risk Factors for Decline in Brain Health

The risk factors for brain decline depend on the kind of brain condition that we're talking about.

First, let's discuss traumatic brain injuries. These are most common in pediatric patients, specifically children under four years old and young adults between the ages of 15 and 25. Although, older adults 65 and older can also sustain these kinds of injuries from falls.

Caused by mechanical forces, traumatic brain injuries can come from falls, accidents, and other physical detriments to the skull. Due to the risky physical activities of young children and the coordination deficits in older adults, age makes sense as a risk factor.

Brain tumors can affect individuals of any age, although the risk for tumors can increase based on genetic factors and environmental factors.

Neurodegenerative diseases cause damage to the brain over time. So, the most common risk factor for that kind of brain disease is going to be age. Therefore, older adults are more likely to develop these kinds of conditions.

Lastly, we should discuss the risk factors for mental health. Mental health can and will affect everyone at some point in their lives. However, when it comes to chronic mental health problems, there are a few more risk factors to consider:

  • Family history of mental illness
  • Past traumatic or stressful life experiences
  • History of alcohol or drug abuse
  • History of a traumatic brain injury

One in five adults living in America has some kind of mental illness. So, if you think that you fall into this category, you are not alone.

Causes of Decline in Brain Health

The brain controls the whole body. Likewise, the whole body affects the brain.

Because of this reciprocal relationship, the causes of brain decline are plentiful. Here are some of the most common causes that healthcare professionals see:

  • Presence of a mental illness such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD
  • Chronic stress
  • Sleep apnea and/or other sleeping problems
  • Thyroid, kidney, or liver problems
  • Conditions that affect blood flow in the brain such as tumors, strokes, and traumatic brain injuries
  • Low vitamin levels, especially low Vitamin B
  • Eye and/or ear problems
  • The presence of bodily infection, especially if it's traveled to or located in the brain
  • History of alcoholism
  • Medication side effects

All of these causes and courses could explain why younger people have problems with brain decline. However, we should note how brain decline in older adults happens.

Of course, any of these causes can affect older adults, too. However, brain decline in these individuals tends to come from neurodegenerative diseases.

This doesn't mean that all adults are doomed to form a disease like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. Although these conditions are relatively common, they are not a part of normal aging.

Older adults without these kinds of conditions are not doomed to having declining brain health. You can continue to grow your brain in the absence of brain-related conditions. It's important for older adults to keep exercising their intelligence to continue to help their brains stay healthy.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Decline in Brain Health?

The symptoms of a brain disorder will depend on the kind of brain disorder that you have.

If you're dealing with a brain injury due to trauma, you may experience the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Numbness
  • Memory loss
  • Problems with concentration

Those with brain tumors will develop symptoms slowly over time. These symptoms include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Numbness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in personality
  • Trouble with movement

Patients with neurodegenerative diseases will also show a decline over time. These conditions may cause the following

  • Memory loss
  • Forgetfulness
  • Apathy
  • Mood changes

How Is a Decline in Brain Health Diagnosed?

Your primary care physician or a neurologist can diagnose a decline in brain health. By ordering lab work and performing physical exams, they can determine whether or not there has been any damage to the brain.

Depending on your symptoms, your physician may want to run some imaging tests to get a look at the physical brain.

After collecting baseline labs, they can work with you on brain optimization and future testing.

The Brain Health Lab Tests to Screen, Diagnose, and Monitor a Decline in Brain Health

If you're wondering whether or not you have a brain-related condition, you need to get brain health lab tests. These kinds of tests can help you determine whether or not you should be worried about current or future decline:

  • Apolipoprotein - associated with bad cholesterol
  • CRP - a measure of general inflammation in the body
  • Cortisol - measures chronic stress response in the body
  • Creatine kinase - enzyme associated with muscle damage
  • Estradiol - female hormone
  • Ferritin - a blood protein that contains iron
  • Fibrinogen - helps with blood clotting
  • FSH and LH - female hormones involved in ovulation and fertility
  • Gastrin - a hormone that secretes gastric juice when stimulated
  • Hemoglobin A1C - a measurement of the average blood glucose over the last few months
  • Insulin - a hormone that regulates blood glucose
  • Lipase - a pancreatic enzyme that breaks down lipids
  • Magnesium - a critical mineral that our bodies need

Luckily, we have all of these tests and more in our Brain Fit Comprehensive Panel.

Order Brain Health Lab Tests with Ulta Lab Tests

Ulta Lab Tests offers tests that are highly accurate and reliable so you can make informed decisions about your health.

  • Secure and confidential results
  • No insurance is needed
  • No doctor’s referral is required
  • Affordable pricing on all tests
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

Order your brain health lab tests today and your results will be provided to you securely and confidentially online in 24 to 48 hours for most tests.

Take control of your health today with Ulta Lab Tests.

Have you ever forgotten someone’s name or where you placed your car keys? Have you ever joked that you have a senior moment during those times? Well, the truth is that; it is common for everyone to experience mild memory loss. However, cognitive decline is not a laughing matter.

As a matter of fact, for many of us, experiencing a declining brain function is the most feared side effect of aging. Studies show that an estimated one out of three seniors die with dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases. However, this does not mean that it is an aging process factor.

Although aging is defiantly a risk factor, scientists believe that dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other memory-related diseases are caused by environmental factors, lifestyle choices, and genetics. With that in mind, it makes things easier to know the steps you need to take to reduce the risk factors and help maintain a healthy brain even as one ages.

Therefore, the million-dollar question is; what are the five things you can do right now to keep your mind shard and prevent cognitive decline?

Decrease Inflammation

Research shows that approximately 18% of people aged above 65 experience mild cognitive impairment.  In some cases, mild cognitive impairment can develop into dementia, which we all know has a huge impact not only on the person affected but the family as well. Today, extensive research on dementia is still going on, and it mainly revolves around how inflammation plays a role in its development.

In fact, researchers believe that chronic inflammation is the root of many diseases that occur later in life.  Some studies show that inflammation in midlife may contribute to dementia. CRP (C-reactive protein) is a substance that the liver produces as a response to inflammation. It is the primary inflammatory marker that researchers test to see a person’s body is inflamed.

Another major inflammatory marker is homocysteine, which is highly associated with heart disease, stroke, and dementia. Although the role homocysteine plays in the development of dementia is not clear,  research shows that people with high levels of homocysteine are nearly double at risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease (which is the most common form of dementia).

The best news is that chronic inflammation can be reversed medically. For this reason, if the homocysteine or CRP levels are found to be high, there are ways one can do to bring the levels down, such as losing weight, managing stress, making diet changes, and reducing allergen and toxins exposure. It has been proven that chronic inflammation in midlife may contribute to the development of dementia.

Check Your Nutrient Intake Levels

It is common knowledge that, as humans, we need a nutritious diet to achieve good health. This fact is especially true when it comes to brain health.  Remember, although you may be eating healthy, there may be some essential nutrients you are missing (especially as one ages). That is because as a person gets old, the body is less effective in making and absorbing some key nutrients.

For example, it has been proven that more than 40% of American adults experience Vitamin D deficiency, and the elderly are more at risk. This is a very important study that shows how older people do not get enough vitamin D, which makes then be at a higher risk of developing dementia.

For this reason, getting about 10 to 30 minutes of sunshine at least 2-days a week is very important.  Also, eating vitamin D-rich foods like fortified dairy products, fish, and egg yolk is important.  It is wise to check Vitamin B12 levels. 
Remember, deficiency in these nutrients will surely contribute to high homocysteine levels. This is why increasing vitamin intake reduces the harmful type of inflammation.

Testing For Insulin Resistance

Diabetes is a problem in America. Today, almost ¾ of Americans are diabetic. We also know that diabetes is a serious condition that brings out many serious complications. In fact, more and more evidence shows that having type 2 diabetes can increase the risk of one developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Although research on this topic is still ongoing, it is believed the connection could be in the way type 2 diabetes affects the brain’s ability to use glucose or respond to insulin.

Checking for insulin resistance is one of the best ways to check if a person is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is a problem that is estimates to affect about 1/3 Americans, and it happens when the body becomes less effective at removing sugar from the blood.

According to American Diabetes Association, almost ½ of people with insulin resistance will develop type 2 diabetes if they fail to make lifestyle changes. However, just like it is with chronic inflammation, insulin resistance is reversible. This makes tracking insulin levels is one of the best ways to see if you have a problem that needs addressing.

If a person’s insulin levels are high, there are proactive ways one can take to bring them down. Few ways include exercising regularly, avoiding fructose, and eating a low-carb diet. A hemoglobin A1c test is another way to check if a person is at risk of getting diabetic conditions.

Avoid Exposure To Heavy Metals

Of course, few metals can be found in our bodies naturally, and they play an important role for both the brain and the whole body. First, they ensure correct body functions. Few examples of these metals include iron, copper, and zinc.

However, although these metals play an important role in the body, excessive levels can be life-threatening. In fact, some research suggests overexposure to copper (either through supplements, water, or food) may contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s.

There are other metal types that we are exposed to every day, and they do not help the body in any way and may affect the brain. A good example is Mercury. This type of metal is poisonous and known to cause serious neurological problems. For this reason, if you consume a lot of fish or still practice the old dental work, it is wise to get mercury levels tested.

Lead is another metal you should avoid completely. Exposure to high levels of lead can cause serious health complications such as dementia.

Genetic Risk

Although environment and lifestyle are factors to consider, genetic makeup is also a factor. This is why it is important to check your genetic risk factors.  For example, people with Apolipoprotein (Apo) E4 gene have a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease after it often begins after the age of 65.

Genetic testing can help a person understand their overall risk. However, it is important to note that having the Apo E4 gene does not necessarily mean that you will inevitably develop dementia.

Some people believe that dementia is a condition that cannot only be prevented but also reversed, even for those with the Apo E4 gene, like Dr. Dale Bredesen.

In a nutshell, applying the above tips to your life increases your chances of avoiding dementia and reversing the symptoms of cognitive decline. Remember, it is never too late to start.