Today 40 million people worldwide have dementia and by 2050 there will be greater than 115 million. Much can be accomplished by early recognition. It would be wonderful if we had “The lab test” that diagnosed Alzheimer's, but we don’t.
Making a diagnosis after you get the disease, is too late. We have already mentioned that the drugs don’t work, and palliative care is all that is being offered right now.
So, if we cannot use lab tests, what do we have left? We have Neurologist who specialize in Dementia, but there are not many of them who have specialized in Dementia diagnosis and care.
When I took my mom to see a Neurologist in her hometown, he specialized in Dementia; but once I got her back to my home, the Neurologist we were assigned for her care specialized in Sleep! Even though he was a Neurologist, he knew very little about current therapies for dementia other than prescribing her a medication that has been proven not to actually help long term.
Since Traditional Medicine's mantra has been “one disease, one pill”, a plan of care outside of palliation or a cure seems “a long time coming”. Sadly, medical articles are now being published showing how all of the dementia drugs we use today cannot even slow the disease down let alone “cure” it. Traditional Medicine is currently at a standstill with Dementia.
Alzheimer’s downside is that it has multiple “triggers” with a threshold needing to be reached that then allows practitioners to diagnose a disease; but to a Functional Medicine Practitioner that is an upside because we have been trained to deal with multiple “triggers” and big concepts like “inflammation” and what to do with it. We are not caught in that “One disease, one pill” training mode and we know the earlier you identify the process the sooner you may be able to slow it down.
Medicine and public health associations have had no idea of this looming crisis and presently have little to offer patients. Our Neurologists just have not been prepared for this paradigm in their training programs. Therefore, I feel that you may be better off seeing both types of practitioners; a Neurologist who can make a diagnosis of your disease state and then a Functional Medicine practitioner who understands multiple triggers and how to deal with them.
Either way, the bottom line is, there is no “cure”. The advantage of Functional Medicine is that rolling back the clock on Dementia makes caring for the person with Dementia easier. The “cure” will be in its “prevention”.
Where do we go from here?
I like the way Dr. Bredesen compares Dementia to a leaking roof. You have just gone thru a hailstorm (called life) and your protective roof has multiple holes in it. You cannot live in that house because you don’t have enough buckets to catch all the water coming thru the holes. If you fix a few of the big holes; however, the little holes could be managed because you then would have enough buckets.
Simple enough if your medical paradigm can incorporate this mode of thinking. You're in luck because our medical paradigm, Functional Medicine, does!