Part 3 What actually is Alzheimer’s Disease? (diagnosing and Rx).

The National Institute of aging states the following procedures also may be used to diagnose dementia:

  • “Cognitive and neuropsychological tests. These tests are used to assess memory, problem solving, language skills, math skills, and other abilities related to mental functioning.
  • Laboratory tests. Testing a person’s blood and other fluids , as well as checking levels of various chemicals, hormones, and vitamins, can help find or rule out possible causes of symptoms.
  • Brain scans. These tests can identify strokes, tumors, and other problems that can cause dementia. Scans also identify changes in the brain’s structure and function. The most common scans are:
    • Computed tomography (CT), which uses x rays to produce images of the brain and other organs
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of body structures, including tissues, organs, bones, and nerves
    • Positron emission tomography (PET), which uses radiation to provide pictures of brain activity
  • Psychiatric evaluation. This evaluation will help determine if depression or another mental health condition is causing or contributing to a person’s symptoms.
  • Genetic tests. Some dementias are caused by a known gene defect. In these cases, a genetic test can help people know if they are at risk for dementia. It is important to talk with a genetic counselor before and after getting tested, along with family members and the doctor.

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