Experienced clinicians can accurately diagnose dementia 90 percent of the time.
Accurate diagnosis is critical since there are dozens of other causes of memory problems. Some memory problems can be readily treated, such as those caused by vitamin deficiencies or thyroid problems. Other memory problems might result from causes that are not currently reversible, such as Alzheimer's disease.
Obtaining a proper diagnosis involves consulting with a healthcare professional expert in dementia, communicating symptoms and undergoing extensive testing.
Diagnostic tools can include a complete medical history; blood, urine or other medical tests; neuropsychological tests that measure memory, problem solving, attention, and language; and brain scans.
Individuals with clinically diagnosed dementia have clear cognitive loss in two or more intellectual domains, such as amnesia (loss of memory) and aphasia (inability to communicate effectively), but almost all individuals with Alzheimer's disease demonstrate short-term memory impairment.
Other types of dementia may begin with a slow loss of memory function; however, a careful, clinical evaluation will usually provide information that suggests dementia other than Alzheimer's disease.
For more information, connect with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s licensed social workers. Click here or call 866.232.8484. Real People. Real Care.