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Alzheimer's Disease

Diagnosis of Azheimer's

An accurate and early diagnosis of AD helps patients and their families plan for the future. It gives them time to discuss care options while the patient can still take part in making decisions. Early diagnosis also offers the best chance to treat the symptoms of the disease.

Why an early diagnosis is important?

  • Early diagnosis will identify the causes of the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and allows treatment that help slow its progression
  • Early diagnosis allows prompt treatment of reversible symptoms. This can often lead to improvement of cognitive symptoms such as memory problems
  • Early diagnosis allows for the correct diagnosis of the type of dementia
  • Early diagnosis allows for psychiatric symptoms to be identified and treated
  • Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent hospitalization and reduce impairment
  • Early diagnosis gives people more time to make critical life decisions. These include financial planning
  • Early diagnosis gives the person with Alzheimer's and their family more time to arm themselves with knowledge about this type of dementia and the best way to live with the disease
  • The Process of Diagnosis

    The process of diagnosis involves several kinds of tests, a primary care physician and possibly other specialists and may take more than one day. With the proper diagnostic tools and criteria, physicians can make a diagnosis of Alzheimer's with 90 percent accuracy.

    Tools utilized to check for the presence of Alzheimer's Disease:

  • A complete medical history is required about the person's general health, past medical problems, and any difficulties the person has while carrying out daily activities.
  • Medical tests such as tests of blood, urine, or spinal fluid - help the doctor find other possible diseases causing the symptoms.
  • Neuropsychological tests: Measures memory, problem solving, attention, counting, and language.
  • Brain scans: Allows the doctor to look at a picture of the brain to see if anything does not look normal.
  • Genetic Testing

    If one person has early-onset Alzheimer's and a blood-related relative shows signs or symptoms of dementia, it may be useful for the relative to have genetic testing to make an accurate diagnosis. Genetic testing should be discussed with the physician.

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