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Diagnosing Dementia

July 20, 2017

Diagnosing dementia is not a straight forward scientific yes or no, there is no single test that can give a correct answer but doctors look for signals through medical assessments. The medical evaluation includes looking through medical histories this includes families medical history, mental status and mood testing, physical and neurological exams and tests such as blood and brain imaging with some memory testing also. There is specialist that diagnose dementia and these include Neurologist, Psychiatrist and Psychologist, all deal with the brain, memory and mental functions. 

The neurologist diagnoses dementia by scanning the brain and looking at how the size of the brain and areas of the brain are affected by the disease. Psychiatrist look at how people memorize things and can remember long term and short term memories, they also look at mood swings, disorders and the way the mind works. A psychologist focuses more on the training of the memory and brain as well as mental function capacities. This is a difficult way of saying the doctor is seeing memory function as well as proof that there is a reason for this memory impairment to be happening. 

It is important to be diagnosed early so there is a better chance of benefitting from treatment even though there is no stopping it or reversing it. More time to plan for the future and educate yourself and family members. It also increases your chances of participating in clinical drug trials, which helps advance research and to make choices of how the person would want to be cared for and living options as well as legal matters. Lastly, the person can build a relationship with their doctors so the doctor knows how you acted before and can take that into effect when diagnosing the person and prescribing medication.

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