Rarely Asked Questions About Alzheimers Disease
Even though the disease has no direct cure, people with Alzheimer can easily manage symptoms at home.
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How Accurate Is It
This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by licensed healthcare professionals.
Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns arent legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.
If you think you or someone you care about may be experiencing symptoms of dementia or any other mental health condition, Psycom.net strongly recommends that you seek help from a mental health professional in order to receive a proper diagnosis and support. For those in crisis, we have compiled a list of resources where you may be able to find additional help at: https://www.psycom.net/get-help-mental-health.
What Are Options For Further Assessment And Diagnosis
If a primary care doctor suspects mild cognitive impairment or possible Alzheimers, he or she may refer you to a specialist who can provide a detailed diagnosis, or you may decide to go to a specialist for further assessment. You can find specialists through memory clinics and centers or through local organizations or referral services. Specialists include:
- Geriatricians, who manage health care in older adults. They know how the body changes as it ages and whether symptoms indicate a serious problem.
- Geriatric psychiatrists, who specialize in the mental and emotional problems of older adults and can assess memory and thinking problems
- Neurologists, who specialize in abnormalities of the brain and central nervous system and can conduct and review brain scans
- Neuropsychologists, who can conduct tests of memory and thinking
Memory clinics and centers, including Alzheimers Disease Research Centers, offer teams of specialists who work together to diagnose the problem. Tests often are done at the clinic or center, which can speed up diagnosis.
You may also want to get a second opinion. Diagnosis of memory and thinking problems can be challenging. Subtle signs and symptoms may be overlooked or unclear. Getting a second opinion helps confirm the diagnosis. Most doctors understand the benefit of a second opinion and will share your records if you permit. A specialist can refer you to another doctor for a second opinion, or you may decide to find one yourself.
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Why Take A Test For Dementia
It is crucial that the symptoms of memory loss are diagnosed as early as possible. This helps to get the best treatment possible. A do at home dementia test can help a person come to terms with the fact that they may be suffering from dementia.
By taking a simple do at home dementia test you should be able to determine if the person may have a problem with their memory. If they show signs if difficut during the test you should encourage them to seek further help fro their GP. There Doctor can then check for problems such as early stages of Alzheimers disease or dementia.
What Are The Benefits Of An Early Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
Alzheimers disease slowly worsens over time. People living with this disease progress at different rates, from mild Alzheimers, when they first notice symptoms, to severe, when they are completely dependent on others for care.
Early, accurate diagnosis is beneficial for several reasons. While there is no cure, there are several medicines available to treat Alzheimers, along with coping strategies to manage behavioral symptoms. Beginning treatment early in the disease process may help preserve daily functioning for some time. Most medicines work best for people in the early or middle stages of the disease. Learn more about Alzheimers medications.
In addition, having an early diagnosis helps people with Alzheimers and their families:
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When Is Memory Loss A Problem
Do you keep asking the same questions over and over? Are you having difficulty following easy, simple instructions, such as how to put together a recipe? Do you keep becoming more and more mixed up over people and places.
Alzheimers Disease, as we all know, can lead to memory loss, but not all memory loss is linked to Alzheimers and related dementias. And, in some cases, it can be treated once the cause has been found.
Referral To A Specialist
If a GP is unsure about whether you have Alzheimer’s disease, they may refer you to a specialist, such as:
- a psychiatrist
- an elderly care physician
- a neurologist
The specialist may be based in a memory clinic alongside other professionals who are experts in diagnosing, caring for and advising people with dementia and their families.
There’s no simple and reliable test for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease, but the staff at the memory clinic will listen to the concerns of both you and your family about your memory or thinking.
They’ll assess your memory and other areas of mental ability and, if necessary, arrange more tests to rule out other conditions.
How Is Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosed And Evaluated
No single test can determine whether a person has Alzheimer’s disease. A diagnosis is made by determining the presence of certain symptoms and ruling out other causes of dementia. This involves a careful medical evaluation, including a thorough medical history, mental status testing, a physical and neurological exam, blood tests and brain imaging exams, including:
What Is The Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers disease was originally identified by a German physician called Alois Alzheimers in 1907. It is a progressive neurodegenerative condition and one of the most common types of dementia that slowly declines a persons memory, behavior, thinking and reasoning capabilities. The overall effect is that the patient is unable to fully perform simple day to day task and to effectively communicate.
The illness usually afflicts 1 in every 9 adults aged 65 and above and an overall estimation of about 5 million Americans. Alzheimers symptoms may appear in the 30s and mid-60s ages. The symptoms if not noticed and treated early develop slowly and can get worse over time causing the patient condition to get severe.
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How Do They Test For Alzheimers Disease Part 1
As of 2016 2017, there is no way to definitively diagnose Alzheimers disease on a living person only upon autopsy. There are, however, several ways to eliminate other potential causes of dementia. Sometimes, when memory impairment is more advanced, doctors are able to confidently make a diagnosis without much testing. However, when a person is in the earlier stages of dementia an accurate diagnosis typically involves a battery of tests.
The Brief Alzheimer’s Screening Test
This short screening asks the test taker to repeat three words immediately after hearing them. Next, two tasks that distract from those three words are performed: a short version of the verbal fluency test where the person is asked to name as many animals as they can in 30 seconds and spelling “WORLD” backward. Finally, the person is asked to remember and recite the three words from the beginning of the screening process.
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Dementia Tests You Can Do At Home
There is no one correct way that you can test for conditions like Alzheimers or other forms of dementia without taking a medical test that a doctor can give. But you can do an easy memory test at home. The test may help give you an indication that something may be wrong with your, or somebody elses memory. It helps differentiate between normal everyday forgetfulness that we sometimes get and something more serious.
We take a look at two ways that you can a do at home dementia test
Word Association Tests
Simple word tests can be used to help detect memory problems a person may have.
Our brain saves and stores all the words we learn during our lives in our memories which then allows us to recollect what a word means without thinking about it.
A person who is having difficulty remembering words or confusing their words could have a problem that is associated with their memory. Word association tests such as the one below seem to work well in detecting memory problems.
- Ask the individual taking the test to name all the animals they can think of in one minute.
- Ask the individual to name all the types of fruit they can remember in one minute.
Test Results Research has found that a healthy individuals scoring should between 20 to 25 words in the time given whereas a person who may have memory problems usually scores between 10 15
The Clock Drawing Test. Do at Home Dementia Test.
Dementia Clock Test Results
What Are Next Steps After Taking It
After you complete the test you should take it to your healthcare provider, who can score the test very quickly, even within seconds, and give you immediate feedback.
According to Scharre your doctor may be able to glean that a specific part of your brain is not working as well as other parts depending on how you answer specific questions. That may help them in their diagnostic considerations,” he explains.
Depending on your test results, your primary care physician may schedule additional neurological tests or brain imaging magnetic resonance imaging or computerized tomography scans to rule out other conditions that may be impairing your thinking or memory, such as stroke, Parkinsons disease, brain tumor, or other illnesses, like hypothyroidism.
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Who Should Consider Taking The Sage Test
According to Scharre, anyone who is experiencing memory, language, problem-solving, or thinking problems should consider taking SAGE.
This may be especially important if you are noticing very mild symptoms, since SAGE is designed to pick up early deficits and allow your healthcare providers to diagnose and manage any potential conditions at an early stage,” he explains.
Friends or family members may want to encourage a loved to take the test if they notice issues related to memory or thinking.
You may also wish to take a SAGE to establish a baseline cognitive assessment to use for comparison in the future if you have a family history of dementia or thinking problems.
Typically, we would suggest repeating the test every six months unless significant cognitive changes are occurring,” advises Scharre.
You can download the test for free at the Wexner Medical Center website.
Theres also a digital version made for tablets produced by a company called BrainTest. It consists of identical test questions. This version is scored by a panel and results are sent to you so can take them to your primary care physician for further discussion. You can download the electronic version at BrainTest.com.
Even The Caregiver Gets Quizzed
The doctor should ask the caregiver about the symptoms and their frequency. There are different variations of questionnaires used for this assessment. Here are 2 of the more common:
This is a good time to present the cognitive questionnaire that was discussed in my article, Memory Problems? 6 Ways to Prepare for the Doctor .
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Mental Ability Tests To Diagnose Dementia
People with symptoms of dementia are given tests to check their mental abilities, such as memory or thinking.
These tests are known as cognitive assessments, and may be done initially by a GP.
There are several different tests. A common one used by GPs is the General Practitioner Assessment of Cognition .
Although these tests cannot diagnose dementia, they may show there are memory difficulties that need further investigation.
Most tests involve a series of pen-and-paper tests and questions, each of which carries a score.
These tests assess a number of different mental abilities, including:
- short- and long-term memory
- language and communication skills
- awareness of time and place
It’s important to remember that test scores may be influenced by a person’s level of education.
For example, someone who cannot read or write very well may have a lower score, but they may not have dementia.
Similarly, someone with a higher level of education may achieve a higher score, but still have dementia.
What Does Sage Stand For
The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam, known as SAGE, is a brief, pen-and-paper cognitive assessment tool designed to detect the early signs of cognitive, memory, or thinking impairments. The test evaluates your thinking abilities. This can help your doctors understand how well your brain is functioning.
Douglas Scharre, MD, director of the division of cognitive neurology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, developed the test over a five-year period based on clinical experience and review of literature.
Questions were designed to evaluate every part of a patients brain,” Dr. Scharre explains.
The scoring for SAGE was designed to give equal weight for questions that assess brain function for the front, the back, the left, and the right side of the brain, so that no area was overrepresented.
SAGE will not diagnose any specific condition. It will not tell your doctor if you have Alzheimers disease or any other condition that can impact your thinking.
But it is a helpful screening tool for mild cognitive impairment from any cause and early dementia.
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How Long Do Dementia Patients Live After Diagnosis
Dementia symptoms typically progress slowly. People with dementia will progress from mild to severe dementia at varying speeds and may be diagnosed earlier or later in life. Some people with dementia may live for up to 20 years after their diagnosis, though according to the Alzheimer’s Association research shows that the average person lives for four to eight years after a diagnosis of dementia. It’s important to point out that the diagnosis of dementia is often missed, delayed, or diagnosed when the illness is moderate or advanced. The impact of that variable may not be accurately reflected in the research regarding the years of life post-diagnosis.
How Do They Test For Alzheimers And Dementia
While there is no perfect memory loss remedy, there are several things that you can do to prevent it. First of all, exercising regularly can help keep your lungs in good shape. People who get regular exercise have better memories, and a regular exercise program can reduce stress. Additionally, exercising can help prevent memory loss by keeping your mind active. Here are some of the best ways to make your brain healthier and keep your mind sharp. Read on to learn more. How Do They Test for Alzheimers and Dementia
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Testing For Alzheimer’s Disease
There is no single test for Alzheimers disease. The GP will first need to rule out conditions that can have similar symptoms, such as infections, vitamin and thyroid deficiencies , depression and side effects of medication.
The doctor will also talk to the person, and where possible someone who knows them well, about their medical history and how their symptoms are affecting their life. The GP or a practice nurse may ask the person to do some tests of mental abilities.
The GP may feel able to make a diagnosis of Alzheimers at this stage. If not, they will generally refer the person to a specialist. This could be an old-age psychiatrist often based in a memory service. Or it might be a geriatrician , a neurologist or a general adult psychiatrist in a hospital.
The specialist will assess the persons symptoms, and how they developed, in more detail. In Alzheimers disease there will usually have been a gradual worsening of memory over several months. A family member may be more aware of these changes than the person with suspected Alzheimers is themselves.
The persons memory, thinking and other mental abilities will also be assessed further with a pen-and-paper test. When someone with Alzheimers is tested, they will often forget things quite quickly. They will often not be able to recall them a few minutes later even when prompted.
Types Of Tests For Dementia
The first type of tests are called mental status scales.
These are short bedside tests administered by the doctor that assess memory and other cognitive domains.
They provide a score, which is used to distinguish people with normal vs. impaired cognition and even screen for mild cognitive impairment .
Examples of the most widely used include the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and the Mini-Mental State Examination .
These are screening tests, meaning they are not diagnostic of any particular dementia or diagnosis, but when abnormal definitely can hint that cognition is impaired.
Moreover, these tests can be repeated over time to track the progression of the disease as well.
These tests assess memory, language, executive function, visuospatial skills, and attention/concentration.
The MMSE is scored on a 30 point scale. Specific items include orientation , memory , attention/concentration , language , and visuospatial function . A score of < 23 is abnormal and indicates cognitive impairment.
Note: you can find only MMSE test here.
The MOCA is also scored on a 30 point scale.
It assesses delayed word recall/memory , visuospatial function , language , attention/concentration , and orientation . A score of < 25 is abnormal and indicates significant cognitive impairment.
Note: you can also access MOCA test online.
Another similar test is the Saint Louis University Mental Status Examination which is scored similarly.
Alternative shorter tests
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