Search For A Cure
Scientific Breakthroughs & Caregiver Tips
How is Dementia Diagnosed?
To pinpoint the cause of dementia symptoms, doctors look for a pattern of symptoms, risk factors, and family history. The diagnostic process typically includes physical examinations, tests, a review of medical and family history, and, often, information gathered from caregivers or loved ones.
Diagnostic steps may include:
- A physical exam. This exam will be aimed at ruling out specific physical conditions that could be causing the symptoms.
- Cognitive tests. These tests are aimed at measuring the patient’s ability to think clearly, and they target cognitive functions such as memory, reasoning, language, attention, and orientation.
- Neurological tests. These tests measure the function of the patient’s nervous system. They evaluate functions such as balance, reflexes, memory, visual perception, and language.
- Brain scans. These tests–such as MRIs, CTs, and PET scans– look for signs of bleeding in the brain, stroke, tumors, or protein deposits characteristic of Alzheimer’s.
- Blood and laboratory tests. These tests will look at the patient’s blood chemistry for issues such as thyroid function, vitamin B-12 deficiency, or inflammation which may be causing the symptoms.
- Psychological assessments. These assessments may take the form of questionnaires or talk sessions with a mental health professional to look for signs of depression or other mental issues that may be linked to the symptoms.
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