Wednesday Workshop – What’s Involved in Reaching an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis?
Hello and welcome to today’s Wednesday Workshop. If you believe you or your loved one has Alzheimer’s, then it is recommended that you go see a doctor as soon as possible to find a definite answer. In today’s Wednesday Workshop, we will be discussing what is involved in an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. We will discuss what warning signs you should look out for and what you should expect when you or your loved one visits the doctor.
So, what’s actually involved in reaching an Alzheimer’s diagnosis:
The first thing you should look out for are typical warning signs that could suggest the onset of Alzheimer’s. Such signs include:
- Memory loss
- Decline in cognitive functions
- Difficulty concentrating
- Impaired reasoning or inability to exercise judgment
- Increased difficulty in work or social environments
- Language problems
- Changes in personality, mood, or behavior
- Impaired visuospatial abilities—like being unable to recognize faces or becoming disoriented
These signs should prompt an immediate visit to the doctor to determine if you or your love one has Alzheimer’s or related dementias. The doctor will ask you about medical history, symptoms, daily life experiences, and evaluate whether a cognitive deficiency exists.
The second thing that a doctor might do is assess your current mental abilities.
A doctor can perform a test which can screen your mental status, i.e. your current memory and thinking skills. This will allow the doctor determine the extent of cognitive impairment. Doctors may also want to talk with family members to discuss any behavioral or social changes they have noticed.
The third step may be visiting a neurological specialist, upon a doctor’s request, for a more in-depth assessment.
These specialists have extensive and more detailed tests to determine levels of cognitive impairment. These tests are a good way for doctors to see if you or your loved one can perform tasks like driving or handling money safely and responsibly. The neurological specialist may check your eyesight, reflexes, senses, and check for muscular strength. Additionally, these tests can determine if there are other causes rather than dementia or
Alzheimer’s that are contributing to cognitive impairment. A visit with a neurological specialist will be a crucial way to determine the kind of treatment and care needed.
Although your doctor could make an accurate diagnosis through the evaluations listed above, it may not always be clear if the diagnosis is Alzheimer’s. You may be asked by the neurological specialist to undergo a series of brain imaging tests for further analysis. Such imaging technologies include Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computerized Tomography (CT scan), or Positron Emission Tomography (PET scan). These tests can let the doctor know if any other underlying causes are contributing to cognitive decline, like brain damage from strokes, hemorrhaging, or brain cancer. If the diagnosis is linked to dementia, brain imaging can help the doctors determine between different types of degenerative neurological diseases to help provide better suggestions for treatment.
The important thing to take away is that visiting the doctor early is the surest way to address any urgent problems quickly and, if necessary, to start an effective treatment plan.
To learn more or to speak with us here at the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center
Feel free to call us at (877) 760-9199 or email us below. Thanks for watching today’s Wednesday Workshop and we’ll see you again next week!
 The following information listed throughout the article was primarily found on: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/in-depth/alzheimers/art-20048075
 Source: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_steps_to_diagnosis.asp