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How Family Care Doctors Diagnose Dementia

by Bonnie Gordon

If you suspect that you may have dementia, the process of receiving a diagnosis is not as simple as discussing your symptoms. In fact, dementia can be difficult to diagnose without further testing.

Your family doctor is a good person to talk to about dementia, and these are some of the steps that might happen during your doctor's appointment.

Medical History

Your doctor will ask you questions about your health, your family's medical history, and any medications that you are taking. Your doctor will also ask you about your symptoms, how long you have been experiencing them, and how they have changed.

You will also be asked if anybody in your immediate family has experienced dementia. This can lend some insight into your symptoms.

Memory Tests

One of the ways that doctors diagnose dementia is through memory tests. These can be in the form of written tests or verbal questions. The goal is to see how well you can remember information. You will be asked to recall words, names, and dates. You may also be asked to remember a list of items or directions to a location.

Cognitive Tests

Cognitive tests are designed to assess your thinking skills and your ability to pay attention, reason, and remember. You may be asked to identify an object, draw a clock face, or name as many words as you can in one minute.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are done to rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms. For example, your doctor may test for thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies, or an autoimmune disorder. This can help provide a clearer picture of what is happening.

Brain Scan

A brain scan can help to rule out other conditions and get a better look at your brain. A brain scan is usually not needed to diagnose dementia, but it can help rule out other options when necessary.

Behavior Assessments

Another way to diagnose dementia is through behavior assessments. You may be asked questions about your mood, sleep habits, and whether you are having any hallucinations. Your doctor may also ask you to do some simple tasks and note your experiences.

Talk to Your Doctor About Dementia Today

If you think that you may have dementia, it is important to talk to your family care doctor. Dementia can be a difficult condition to diagnose, but with the right tests, your doctor can get a better understanding of what is happening.

Contact your family care doctor for more information.