Tests For Alzheimer's And Dementia
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Tests for Alzheimer\'s And Dementia

Tests for Alzheimer's and dementia include mental status tests, brain imaging test, neurological examination, and physical examination and blood test. Because none of these tests can solely confirm that a patient has Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia, doctors apply a combination of these tests to confirm that a patient has the condition.

Mental Status Tests

These tests are applicable when a doctor wants to determine how well a patient can think or remember things. For instance, a doctor may apply these tests to determine if the patient notices his symptoms, or if he is aware of his exact location. Other thinking aspects testable through these tests include the patient’s ability to be aware of the present time and date, ability to follow instructions and ability to complete simple arithmetic correctly. Examples of mental status tests include mini-mental state exam and mini-cog test. The former involves determining the severity of the patient’s dementia by subjecting him to various questions and assigning him a score out of between 1 to 30 points depending on how well he answers the questions. Patients with mild dementia should be able to get 20 to 24 points while those with moderate dementia should fall within a 13 -20 score range. If the patient’s score falls below 12 points, the implication is that his dementia is severe.

The mini-cog test involves determining the patient’s ability to draw a clock face with exact time according to the doctor’s instructions. It also involves testing the patient’s memory by asking him to name any three common objects. After a few minutes, the doctor asks the patients to mention the three names again to complete the assessment.

Brain Imaging Test

This test involves checking the structure of the patient’s brain through MRI or CT scan. During brain imaging, the doctor observes the patient’s brain image on a screen to determine the presence of certain abnormalities such as trauma-related damage, tumors or fluid accumulation. The results of the tests help the doctor to determine if the patient suffers from other diseases whose symptoms overlap with those of Alzheimer’s.

Neurological Examination

Just like the MRI or CT, this test helps to determine the presence of other brain disorders besides Alzheimer’s disease by testing, among other aspects, the patient’s ability to move eyes, speak and sense. Such disorders include strokes, brain tumors, and Parkinson’s disease.

Physical Examination and Blood Test

A physical examination of Alzheimer’s patient involves checking the patient’s pulse rate, body temperature, the condition of the lungs and heart as well as blood pressure. It also involves knowing the patient’s medical history including any drugs and supplements he takes. The doctor may also need to know the kind of food the patient eats and whether the patient takes alcohol. The blood test involves obtaining a blood sample from the patient’s vein and taking the sample to a laboratory for analysis. Based on the results of the physical or blood test, the doctor can eliminate other conditions such as liver disease, diabetes, kidney disease and anemia, which have symptoms similar to dementia.

Author Bio:

John Snow has spent his life helping people lead more fulfilling lives. Most recently, he has been associated with Home care Assistance in Chandler. He is happy to accomplish his passion for improving the lives of seniors through the written word.


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