Diagnosis & Assessment
Alzheimers is diagnosed through a complete medical assesment
If you or a loved one have concerns about memory loss or other symptoms of Alzheimer's or dementia, it is important to be evaluated by a physician.
There is no single test that can show whether a person has Alzheimer's
While physicians can almost always determine if a person has dementia, it may be difficult to determine the exact cause. Diagnosing Alzheimer's requires careful medical evaluation including:
- A thorough history
- Mental status testing
- A physical and neurological exam
- Tests (such as blood tests and brain imaging) to rule out other causes of dementia-like symptoms
Experts estimate a skilled physician can diagnose Alzheimer's with more than 90 percent accuracy
The first step in following up on symptoms is finding a doctor you feel comfortable with. Many people contact their regular primary care physician or internist about their concerns regarding memory loss. Primary care doctors often oversee the diagnostic process themselves.
Your primary care doctor may refer you to a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.
- Neurologists, who specialize in diseases of the brain and nervous system
- Psychiatrists, who specialize in disorders that affect mood or they way the mind works
- Psychologists with special training in testing memory and other mental functions
Importance of Early Diagnosis
Although the onset of Alzheimer's disease cannot yet be stopped or reversed, an early diagnosis allows people with dementia and their families:
- A better chance of benefiting from treatment
- More time to plan for the future
- Lessened anxieties about unknown problems
- Increased chances of participating in clinical drug trials, helping advance research
- An opportunity to participate in decisions about care, transportation, living options, financial and legal matters
- Time to develop a relationship with doctors and care partners
- Benefit from care and support services, making it easier for them and their family to manage the disease
Resource Lists by County
Community resource lists are for informational purposes only. The Alzheimer's Assocation does not endorse any products, services, service providers, individuals or organizations.