How is dementia diagnosed

Please read the following articles 1)What is Dementia ? 2)What are the types of dementia ? 3)Is dementia reversible ? before you continue to read this article. It will help you understand this better. 🙂

There is no single diagnostic test that can determine if a person has dementia. Physicians use a number of approaches and tools to help make a diagnosis.

Screening for dementia

Tests like those available on the vivid mind project are quick and easy ways to screen a large number of people for symptoms of cognitive decline and dementia.

What does the doctor do to diagnose dementia ?

Those who screen positively are evaluated in more detail with the help of medical history,detailed physical examination and tests for cognitive function. Further more doctors may prescribe blood tests and brain scans in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis. The doctor will first elicit a complete medical history which includes information on how the problems began and how they progressed. The doctor will also record information about other relevant medical conditions and significant family history. He may ask you complete tests on cognitive function such as the MMSE or MoCA. He will do a physical examination including a neurological examination and suggest some blood investigation and maybe a brain scan to come to a diagnosis.

What are the tests that will be done to diagnose dementia ?

The following routine investigations may be prescribed, investigations are aimed at identifying the causes of dementia. In addition blood tests will help doctors identify if you or your loved one will be able to take medication safely.

  • Urinalysis and microscopy.
  • Complete blood cell count.
  • Serum electrolyte levels.
  • Liver/renal function tests.
  • Thyroid function tests.
  • Serum Vitamin B.
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate.
  • Serologic tests for syphilis (or similar).
  • Chest radiography.
  • Electrocardiography.

In addition to these tests, the following may also be prescribed in some people.

  • Brain imaging.
  • Electro-encephalogram.
  • Lumbar puncture.
  • HIV screening.
  • Auto antibody screening

Once the results are available, the doctor will put together the information from the history, physical examination, the cognitive tests and the blood tests/scans and will attempt to classify the cause of dementia. An accurate diagnosis will help in effective treatment since different kinds of dementia, require different treatment modalities. Your doctor will be able to advice you in regard to the treatment options with the best evidence.

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