Doctors Say This 1 Simple Blood Test Could Predict Whether You’ll Develop Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is something no one wants to think about, especially since there currently is no cure. But since early detection is the key to treating the disease and prolonging its devastating effects, knowing your odds of getting it can be extremely beneficial.

Luckily, as more and more research is done, we’re learning more and more about how to diagnose and treat it. In fact, doctors have discovered a blood test that could detect  Alzheimer’s disease years before symptoms appear.

Here’s why early diagnosis matters …

Patient lying on bed with a nurse there to help him

Scheduling an appointment with your doctor as soon as you notice symptoms is super important. | Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes memory loss and problems with thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually start off slowly and develop over time, making diagnosis tricky. But early detection improves the patient’s access to medical and support services, offers the chance to make legal and financial care plans while the patient is still capable, and may reduce health care costs by delaying the placement into a nursing home.

Next: Should everyone be tested?

… and here’s when you should consider getting the test

A young man talking to an older man

If it runs in your family, consider getting tested. | Monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Although the causes of Alzheimer’s are still unknown, there is a suspected genetic link. So if you have a family history of the disease, you should definitely consider getting tested to assess your risks. You may wish to do it anyway for peace of mind.

Next: There is one test on the market you can buy over the counter.

The 23andMe test

brain and label to indicate Alzheimer's disease

There’s an at-home genetic test that’s a newer option. | iStock.com

According to the Alzheimer’s Association blog, the FDA recently approved at-home genetic testing through the 23andMe Personal Genome Service Genetic Health Risk (GHR) test. This tests for genes associated with the risk of several diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer’s. However, this test may not be as accurate as the new blood test.

Next: This one test may detect the disease long before symptoms start.

The new blood test

Blood drawn from an old man's arm

This new blood test may be one of the best preventative actions you can take. | Picsfive/iStock/Getty Images

In a new study performed by Klaus Gerwert, Ph.D., and a team of researchers, they were able to distinguish between normal amyloid beta in the bloodstream and the misfolded amyloid beta that causes the brain plaque to form. A large study group was used, including people with mild symptoms and blood samples of healthy adults. The blood test correctly identified people with Alzheimer’s symptoms more than 70% of the time.

Next: Here’s why this blood test is such a big deal.

Early detection is everything

Old man smiling

This blood test is seriously good at detecting Alzheimer’s. | Vadimguzhva/iStock/Getty Images

Once it’s FDA approved, this blood test could help diagnose Alzheimer’s up to 10 years before symptoms begin. And considering the disease starts making structural changes to the brain up to 20 years before dementia symptoms begin, this could lead to huge breakthroughs in treatment options.

Next: So what’s next?

The next steps

Hands of Patient lying on bed

We’re all hoping to find a cure for Alzheimer’s sooner rather than later. | Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images

Once the blood test is available to the public, the next step in Alzheimer’s treatment will be seeking a preventative treatment. If doctors are able to catch Alzheimer’s in its earliest stages, they can enroll the patients in new experimental trials. This can lead to better preventative treatment and, hopefully, an eventual cure.

Next: Here are some early signs of Alzheimer’s to watch out for.

Early warning signs

Elderly woman alone

Know the warning signs so you have an idea of what to look for. | DimaBerkut/iStock/Getty Images

While we wait for these new developments in Alzheimer’s detection, it’s best to educate yourself on the earliest warning signs so you can seek treatment immediately, if necessary. They are:

  • Sudden mood or personality changes
  • Challenges with planning or problem-solving
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Misplacing things

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