Seem to have lost your short-term memory? Ever wonder if this could be the beginning of Alzheimer’s, but feel too embarrassed to ask your doctor about it? Is it nothing, or is it something? These are questions many of us will face one day, and maybe that day is sooner than you’d planned.
For about 5 million Americans, that day has already arrived. For others, it may be an early warning sign, and for many, it’s simply a case of worrying about nothing. With expensive doctor visits and testing, which may not even be necessary, wouldn’t it be nice to think you could check out your status at the local drug store, much as you check on your blood pressure to see if the numbers are keeping in check?
Rite Aid to offer in-store Alzheimer’s tests
There are plenty of test kits at your local drug store for a variety of health conditions, from pregnancy to HIV. While no one would rely on those tests for the ultimate verdict, they serve as good first indicators of health news. With an aging Baby Boom population and an Alzheimer’s rate expected to triple by 2050, it seems only logical that a quick test might be enough to prod someone to look at him or herself or a loved one a little harder.
Enter Rite Aid, the third largest drug store chain in the United States (and one might expect other drug stores to follow suit, should the test prove useful and without controversy) with a quick (5-10 minute) in-store test. Created together with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, this test for patients and care-givers is intended to raise awareness and possibly urge someone who might need it to see his or her doctor to get a more extensive medical opinion.
Flawed test or helpful tool?
Of course, the test is not without its critics, who assert that the test is inherently flawed because of its simplicity and lack of medical interpretation. However, with the disease now being the nation’s third largest killer (at half a million people yearly) and an aging population, having a tool like the test may assist many in getting the help they need earlier than they might have otherwise.
Having blood pressure monitors at your local drugstore doesn’t prevent the disease or the need to see a doctor if elevated levels are detected. Neither will an in-store Alzheimer’s test eliminate the need for proper, medically supervised testing to determine a patient’s status. However, this test is a good first step in spreading the message about a problem that is only likely to grow larger with the passing years.