Cognitive decline or dementia is a major concern in the aging population. The effects of cognitive decline are not only for the patient, but also for the families and employers. When my mother first developed cognitive decline, we did not know what was going on. She was living in Florida and I would hear her say things that did not make sense. She was in her early 60s, with no family history of cognitive issues, so I just brushed off her comments and continued with my life. As the months went by, my mother would say more things that seemed irrelevant to our conversation. Eventually I realized that something was wrong. It is scary to realize that you or someone you love may be forgetting things or saying things that don’t make sense.
Dementia is a catchall term for several disorders that cause memory loss, personality changes and impaired reasoning. The leading cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s, which can begin as early as 30 years old, but more commonly in the 60s. There are many other causes including Lewey Body Dementia, Parkinson’s, Vascular Dementia, Frontotemporal Dementia, and more. These conditions are said to be “nonreversible”, but there are many studies that indicate dietary supplements, herbal medicine, and lifestyle and dietary changes can help, and even reverse Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
As a naturopathic physician, I take on the role of medical detective. I delve into your history and help you find the cause (or causes) of your cognitive issues. Each person is different and the causes of dementia are often multifaceted. I try to get as much information about your health and lifestyle to determine the most likely causes for you. In my experience it is important to not focus on one cause, but to look at all the possible causes and create a program for health and recovery that you will be able to maintain for the rest of your life. My goal is to help you create a lifestyle for long term health.
Problems with planning or problem solving
Losing track of time
Having vision problems
Poor decision making
Problems with speaking or writing
losing track of where you are
Changes in mood and personality
Contributing Factors to the development of Dementia / Alzheimer’s Disease:
Heavy Metal Toxicity
Blood sugar imbalances
Finding the Cause / Laboratory testing
Nutritional testing: looking at deficiencies of specific nutrients
GI Map: looking at the gut-brain connection; digestion and absorption; food sensitivities and allergies
heavy metals if needed - hx smoking
hormone testing: looking at thyroid and adrenal hormones
Neurotransmitter testing: looking at specific neurotransmitters
Organic Acid Testing
check inflammatory markers
glucose / insulin levels
Possible Treatments: many of which have been researched and clinically tested
Nutritional supplements, including B vitamins, vitamin D, E, glutathione
herbal medicine, including Bacopa, Ashwanganda, Rhodiola, and more
dietary changes, including low carbohydrate diet and intermittent fasting
bio-identical hormone replacement
replacing pharmaceutical medication with natural treatments
It is important to find the specific reasons for your cognitive issues. The sooner we can find the causes and start addressing them, the sooner we can stop the progression.