Why Bother with a Dementia Diagnosis?

Why get a diagnosis if Alzheimer’s can’t be cured?


If a person doesn’t get a diagnosis, no one can help. With a good diagnosis, there is so much to do.

Alzheimer’s is diagnosed through a complete medical assessment. If you or a loved one have concerns about memory loss or other symptoms of Alzheimer’s or dementia, it is important to be evaluated by a physician.

There is no single test that can show whether a person has Alzheimer’s. While physicians can almost always determine if a person has dementia, it may be difficult to determine the exact cause. Diagnosing Alzheimer’s requires careful medical evaluation, including:

People with memory loss or other possible warning signs of Alzheimer’s may find it hard to recognize they have a problem and may resist following up on their symptoms. Signs of dementia may be more obvious to family members or friends.
  • A thorough medical history
  • Mental status testing
  • A physical and neurological exam
  • Tests (such as blood tests and brain imaging) to rule out other causes of dementia-like symptoms

Having trouble with memory does not mean you have Alzheimer’s. Many health issues can cause problems with memory and thinking. When dementia-like symptoms are caused by treatable conditions — such as depression, drug interactions, thyroid problems, excess use of alcohol or certain vitamin deficiencies — they may be reversed.

http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_diagnosis.asp