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 Alzheimer's Association has released new recommendations in Alzheimer's and Dementia for detecting cognitive impairment during Medicare Annual Wellness visits. Primary care physicians have not received any comprehensive guidance on how to screen for cognitive diseases. There are a 5 million Americans with Alzheimer's Dementia but only half have been diagnosed. The guidelines will help primary care physicians detect dementia earlier, allow for earlier intervention and management that will improve these patients and their families' lives. These patients often end up in nursing homes and dependent on total care being provided for them at great cost to the patients' families and society.