In the last blog we talked about what dementia is and what causes it. The 10 signs of early dementia were listed and explained. In this blog, we will cover about getting help, how dementia is diagnosed and condition that can imitate dementia.
How is dementia diagnosedHere are some methods doctors can use:
Cognitive and neuropsychological tests. assess language and math skills, memory, problem solving and other types of mental functioning.
Blood test. This is a new method for diagnosis used in only clinical settings. Measuring Beta-amyloid levels can help identify Alzheimer’s disease.
Brain scans like CT, MRI, or Pete Imaging detect changes in brain structure and function. Strokes, tumors and other problems they can cause dementia can be found as well.
Psychiatric evaluation. The symptoms may be caused by a mental health condition.
Genetic tests are significant in people younger than 60 showing these symptoms. A genetic counselor will be necessary for looking at these possibilities.
Not all dementia is permanent. Certain conditions can cause similar symptoms but can be treated successfully.
Anxiety, depression or stress
Blood clots, brain infections or tumors
Kidney, liver or thyroid problems
Side effects of medication
Vitamin deficiencies Source: National Institute on Aging
Adapted from AARP article: https://tinyurl.com/59tnwvpw
Now that you have some more information about what causes dementia and what to look for as signs and symptoms You may be considering seeing a doctor for your own well being or your loved one’s. It’s important to remember that just because we have some normal aging of our brain it doesn’t necessarily mean that we have Alzheimer’s disease. The AARP website (aarp.org ) is an excellent source for more information to explore what normal brain functioning can be expected as we age. In past blogs we discussed some of the good brain changes that occur with the passing years. Normal aging does not include dementia. Our functioning does slow down, but we can still do lots of activities that will improve brain systems.
There are studies you can join to learn about how your brain functions compares to other people’s. You will also be contributing to the scientific study of how our brains age and what can be done to keep us highly performing. I personally have done the test at the following site and have joined a study as a willing subject. It is called Mind Crowd and is associated with the Precision Aging Network.
Here is one organization that you can check out: