The risk of developing dementia was closely correlated with Framingham Risk scores in a recent study that looked at 10 year cognitive decline. The findings provide doctors with information about middle aged risk factors for cardiovascular disease and later cognitive decline. Not only is increased risk for stroke and cardiac disease predictable, but now future dementia risk is also measurable. The good news is that by identifying risk factors early and treating them both with physical activity and diet as well as medication where appropriate, these adverse outcomes can be decreased.
The study looked at the Framingham Cardiovascular Risk Score which includes age, systolic blood pressure, hypertension treatment, smoking and diabetes. The Framingham Stroke Risk Score was also looked at and includes prior cardiovascular disease, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, left ventricular hypertrophy and systolic blood pressure. The Framingham Stroke Risk and the Cardiovascular Risk Score were superior to the risk of cognitive decline as determine by the CAIDE dementia score. Diabetes, a component of both the cardiovascular and stroke risk scores, had the strongest independent association with 10 year cognitive decline. Some Primary Care Physicians are concerned about adding another screening test to their patient care offerings and think it is unrealistic to do.
Britcher Leone & Roth understand the role of preventive medicine and screening in maintaining wellness and early cancer detection. While physicians are busy, many screening procedures can be administered by physician extenders such as nurses, assistants and technicians. Failing to diagnose risk factors that result in heart attack or stroke or delaying a diagnosis of cancer until advanced stage requires that screening be part of routine healthcare. Questions whether injuries could have been avoided by proper screening require a careful look at the facts.