Alzheimer's Diagnosis

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Dementia is the loss of intellectual functions, memory deficits and/or confusion. Because there are over 60 dementing disorders, a thorough diagnostic work-up is strongly recommended for anyone experiencing these symptoms. A comprehensive evaluation can be conducted by a family doctor, geriatrician, internist, neurologist, psychiatrist, or memory disorder clinic. A complete evaluation should include:

  • a detailed medical history
  • a thorough physical and neurological examination
  • a mental status test
  • a psychiatric assessment
  • routine laboratory tests, including blood work-up, urinalysis, chest x-ray, EEG, EKG, and CT or MRI
  • other tests as necessary

Alzheimer's disease is by far and away the most common cause of dementia. However, other diseases can cause dementia. They include:

  • Multi-infarct dementia
  • Lewy body dementia
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Fronto-temporal lobe dementia
  • Less common causes such as: Huntington's disease, Pick's disease, Korsakoff's (alcohol dementia)
  • Rare causes such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob, and Binswanger diseases.

Diagnosis is important to rule out all other possible causes of memory impairment, some of which are reversible. Reversible causes of dementia-like symptoms include:

  • Delirium
  • Emotional illness
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Nutritional/neurological
  • Tumors/trauma
  • Infections
  • Arteriosclerosis/Anemia

Source: Alzheimer's Association Colorado Chapter

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