welcome to the organic green doctor blog

i am a family physician who was diagnosed with
early mild cognitive impairment(mci) amnestic type on december 21, 2010
this is a precursor to alzheimers disease
because of this diagnosis i have opted to stop practicing medicine
this blog will be about my journey with this disease
please feel free to follow me along this path
i will continue blogging on organic gardening, green living,
solar power, rainwater collection, and healthy living
i will blog on these plus other things noted to be interesting

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

to test or not to test that is the question

 every time i give a talk on alzheimers or do a question and answer session on alzheimers
i always get this question

should i get tested

my answer
yes and no

now this applies to a lot of diseases that can be tested for before symptoms start
the one besides alzheimers disease that i have friends who were tested for was huntingtons disease
some were positive
some were negative

the negative test ones for huntingtons got a reprieve from a deadly disease
that 100% wins in the end
those tested negative feel guilty for those that arent so lucky

a lot of thought has to be put into whether you are tested for a particular genetic disease
which is easy to do now with the gene testing websites like 23 and me

one advice i have is if you get a positive test you should spend the money to get the test repeated at a standard reputable lab
just to be certain

there are false positives that occur

so should you be tested

know what the positive test means
with huntingtons disease if its positive
well you know what your future will be like since most folks have someone they know in the family who had it
usually a parent

with alzheimers
if you are positive for the early onset genes which are not common
you will get alzheimers disease
at a young age
you probably have folks in your family who died with the disease at a young age
usually one of the parents died with it

if you test positive for the late onset gene for alzheimers
called the apoe 4 gene
either the single gene apoe 4 which cares an increased risk of 5 x for the disease
the double gene apoe 4 apoe 4 gene which caries an increased risk 20 x for the idsease
you probably will get alzheimers as you age
you might not

unlike the early onset alzheimers gene the apoe 4 gene is not 100%
unlike the huntingtons gene the apoe 4 gene is not 100%
how healthy you live your life determines how that gene is expressed
lead an unhealthy life it will get you sooner

now back to the question
to test or not to test

the answer is yes
if you are ready psychologically
its a blow to get these positive tests
its like a terminal cancer diagnosis
years before the disease takes over

if you are ready socially
do you have good health insurance and will you always be able to maintain that insurance without a drop in coverage
be aware of any changes congress and the president makes in the obama care insurance law
preexisting conditions
maximum lifetime coverage
guaranteed coverage
bad policies the new ones proposed as cheaper may have these coverages eliminated

these diseases are expensive real expensive over their course

do you have disability insurance
if tested positive you will not get disability insurance unless maybe it is obtained via an employees plan

do you have long term care insurance
if you are positive you will not ever get this insurance

do you have life insurance
you will never get it if you are positive for this disease

so if you are in your 20s or 30s or 40s or 50s put a lot of thought into whether you should get tested
it does carry consequences

another thing thats happening as congress messes with us more is that insurance companies are starting to get access to this information
even if you dont want them to

i had all this stuff done before i was tested in the research study
lucky i had gotten my long term care policy a couple of years before
if i hadnt i would not have been able to get coverage for my long term care

think real hard about whether you are ready to be tested
maybe the emotional thing for many could be the hardest

for me
im glad i know
it has made me appreciate life more
appreciate the little things more
appreciate my family more
appreciate for me nature sounds smells and more
it has made me take better care of my health

the question
to test or not to test that is the question
the answer for me
i dont regret it one iota

the oganicgreen doctor

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