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.
How Is Dementia Diagnosed
To diagnose dementia, doctors first assess whether a person has an underlying, potentially treatable, condition that may relate to cognitive difficulties. A physical exam to measure blood pressure and other vital signs, as well as laboratory tests of blood and other fluids to check levels of various chemicals, hormones, and vitamins, can help uncover or rule out possible causes of symptoms.
A review of a persons medical and family history can provide important clues about risk for dementia. Typical questions might include asking about whether dementia runs in the family, how and when symptoms began, changes in behavior and personality, and if the person is taking certain medications that might cause or worsen symptoms.
The following procedures also may be used to diagnose dementia:
Early detection of symptoms is important, as some causes can be treated. However, in many cases, the cause of dementia is unknown and cannot be treated. Still, obtaining an early diagnosis can help with managing the condition and planning ahead.
The Mmse Alone Cant Be Used For A Dementia Diagnosis
No matter what they score on the Mini Mental Status Exam, dont consider those results to be the final answer.
Many factors can influence someones MMSE score, both positively and negatively. This is only one of many dementia diagnosis tools.
The MMSE is a useful screening tool, but cant be used to diagnose dementia because there are many factors that could affect the test results.
Complicating factors include:
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Discuss Test Results With A Doctor
Dont assume that the test results are equal to a diagnosis of any kind.
The SAGE test is a screening tool that helps doctors detect early signs of cognitive impairment that are typically not noticeable during a normal office visit.
When the test is repeated over time, doctors can watch for changes in cognitive ability. Being able to measure changes helps them detect and treat health conditions early.
Thats why its important to bring the completed test to the doctor to have it reviewed. If there are signs of cognitive impairment, they may recommend further testing.
Assessment For Dementia Usually Includes The Following:
The doctor usually spends some time discussing your medical history and gathering information about your changes in memory and thinking.
Physical examination and laboratory tests
The symptoms of dementia can be due to a number of other possible causes, such as vitamin deficiency, infection, metabolic disorders and side effects from drugs.
These other causes are often easily treated.
Therefore, an early step in diagnosing dementia is to rule out these causes through a physical examination, blood tests and urine tests.
Routine laboratory tests used in the diagnosis of dementia include:
- Blood tests to investigate:
- Drug interactions and dosing problems
Cognitive tests are used to measure and evaluate cognitive, or thinking, functions such as memory, concentration, visual-spatial awareness, problem solving, counting and language skills.
Most doctors use short cognitive screening tests when assessing these functions. If more detailed testing is required you will be referred to a neuropsychologist a psychologist specialising in the assessment and measurement of cognitive function.
Cognitive tests are vital in the diagnosis of dementia and are often used to differentiate between types of dementia. They can also be used to assess mood and may help diagnose depression, which can cause symptoms similar to those of dementia.
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Information For Your Doctor
Itâs a good idea to put together the following for your first appointment:
- A list of symptoms — include everything youâre feeling, even if you donât think it could be related to dementia
- Any sources of major stress or recent life changes
- A list of all medications you take, including vitamins and supplements, and the dosage
- A list of any questions you have
Saint Louis University Mental Status Exam
SLUMS, or the Saint Louis University Mental Status Exam, may be given in conjunction with the MMSE. SLUMS is a test consisting of a series of questions. Scores range from 0 to 30, with one point given for each correct answer. It is an excellent tool for identifying mild cognitive issues and early-stage dementia or mild dementia. This early detection allows doctors to attempt early preventive measures.
You can actually to see for yourself.
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How To Diagnose Alzheimers Vs Dementia
Alzheimers is a progressive and fatal brain disorder. Dementia is not a specific disease, but an umbrella term that defines a syndrome and used to refer to a specific group of symptoms related to a decline in mental ability. Alzheimers is one of the most common causes of dementia. Both Alzheimers and dementia are diagnosed using a variety of different assessments and tests, including a physical exam, lab tests, cognitive and neuropsychological tests, and an analysis of changes in behavior.
What Are The Benefits Of An Early Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
Early, accurate diagnosis is beneficial for several reasons. Beginning treatment early in the disease process may help preserve daily functioning for some time, even though the underlying Alzheimers process cannot be stopped or reversed.
Having an early diagnosis helps people with Alzheimers and their families:
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How To Persuade Your Parent To Get Tested
Your parent might be more aware of his or her memory problems than you realize. For example, Mom might be dropping hints that sheâs starting to struggle, but youâve ignored them because you might not want to accept that there could be a problem. If sheâs trying to subtly tell you that everything isnât OK, be supportive of getting things checked out rather than dismissive, says Teepa Snow, a registered occupational therapist and founder of Positive Approach to Care, a training, education and consulting company building a community of care for people living with dementia.
However, if youâre the one seeing signs of trouble and want to initiate a conversation with your parent, Snow suggests starting by asking a more general question. Try something like, âHow do you feel like youâre doing? Is everything as it has been or are there things that arenât the same?â
If your parent doesnât think anything is wrong and that thereâs no need to be tested, Snow recommends trying one of these approaches.
Reach out to a third party: Ask your parentâs primary care provider or even one of your parentâs friends to suggest that he or she get tested for dementia. Your parent might be more open to the suggestion if it comes from a professional or peer than from you, the child.
Let your parent know that youâre worried about her well-being and that youâre asking her to get checked out by a doctor as a favor to you.
If The Diagnosis Is Dementia
Dementia is one of the health conditions that people are most afraid of.
A study by the Alzheimer’s Society has shown that more than half of people wait for up to a year before getting help for dementia symptoms, because they feel afraid. But an accurate and early diagnosis can have many benefits.
After you’ve had the necessary tests , your doctor should ask if you want to know your diagnosis.
They should explain what having dementia might mean for you and give you time to talk about the condition and ask questions.
Unless you decide otherwise, your doctor, or a member of their team, should talk to you and your family or carer about:
- the type of dementia you have or, if it’s not clear, they should talk to you about being assessed again in the future
- the symptoms and how the condition might develop
- the treatments you might be offered
- the name of a health or social care professional who will co-ordinate the different types of support you need
- care and support services in your area, including support groups and voluntary organisations for people with dementia, their families and carers
- advocacy services
- how dementia will affect your driving or employment, if this applies to you
- where you can get financial and legal advice
You should also be given written information about dementia.
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How Is It Treated
There are medicines you can take for dementia. They cannot cure it, but they can slow it down for a while and make it easier to live with.
As dementia gets worse, a person may get depressed or angry and upset. An active social life, counselling, and sometimes medicine may help with changing emotions.
If a stroke caused the dementia, there are things you can do to reduce the chance of another stroke. Stay at a healthy weight, exercise, and keep your blood pressure and cholesterol at normal levels. If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar in your target range. If you smoke, cut back and try to quit.
Take The Sage Test At Home
Anyone can take the SAGE test anytime. Its free and you can get it here on the Ohio State University website.
Print the test and take it with a pen or pencil. Theres no time limit, but most people finish in about 15 minutes.
Sample questions from the test:
- How many nickels are in 60 cents?
- You are buying $13.45 of groceries. How much change would you receive back from a $20 bill?
- Write down the names of 12 different animals.
- Draw a large face of a clock and place in the numbers.Position the hands for 10 minutes after 11 oclock. On your clock, label L for the long hand and S for the short hand.
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How To Cope With Senior Memory Loss
It is difficult for most seniors to accept gradual memory loss. There will likely be anger and denial, and these emotions are entirely normal. To deal with the negative emotions, seniors need a sense of purpose, they need to be reassured that they still matter.
Either on their own or with a caregiver, there are a number of activities that may help seniors ease the pain of memory loss:
What Happens If A Doctor Thinks It’s Alzheimer’s Disease
If a primary care doctor suspects mild cognitive impairment or possible Alzheimers, he or she may refer the patient to a specialist who can provide a detailed diagnosis or further assessment. Specialists include:
- Geriatricians, who manage health care in older adults and 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.
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When To Visit A Neurologist For Dementia
Caring for an older adult who has Alzheimers disease or another form of dementia requires a team approach that includes physicians, social workers, care coordinators and other specialists. It takes a dedicated care team to ensure the health and longevity of affected seniors and to help relieve stress for caregivers.If your senior loved one has recently been diagnosed, the first step is to decide on a course of treatment. While there is no cure for Alzheimers or dementia, there are steps you can take that may help to delay the progression of your family members disease. During this time, you will likely work with a variety of medical professionals to coordinate your loved ones care. It is important to understand the role and function of each of these specialists.
Begin by developing a strong relationship with your seniors primary care physician. They will act as the care teams quarterback, ultimately responsible for managing medications and therapies, monitoring for any conflicting treatments or side effects, and helping to assemble other specialists.Another key member of your loved ones dementia care team will be the neurologist. These specialists are trained in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain, nervous system and spinal cord. Many neurologists also have specialized training in one area of neurology such as stroke, epilepsy or dementia.
When to See a Neurologist
Signs Your Parent Needs To Be Tested
Just because your parent might be starting to forget things every now and then doesnât mean Alzheimerâs disease or another type of dementia is the cause. However, itâs important to be on the lookout for changes that arenât a normal part of the aging process. According to the National Institute on Aging and Mayo Clinic, these are early signs of more serious memory problems:
- Repeating questions
- Mixing up wordsâusing the wrong word to identify something
- Taking longer to complete familiar tasks
- Getting lost in familiar area
- Not being able to follow directions
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Confusion about time, people and places
- Neglecting personal hygiene
Your parent should see a doctor if he or she is experiencing these problems. Itâs important for him or her to be tested to see if symptoms are due to Alzheimerâs, another type of dementia or something else entirely. Dementia-like symptoms can be caused by depression, sleep apnea, thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies, medication side effects or excessive alcohol consumptionâall of which can be helped with treatment.
Although there is no cure for Alzheimerâs disease, an early diagnosis will allow your parent to get treatment that can lessen symptoms. Plus, it will give you and your parent more time to discuss what sort of care he or she wants and to make a plan to pay for that care.
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Key Features Of Dementia
A person having dementia means that all five of the following statements are true:
- A person is having difficulty with one or more types of mental function. Although its common for memory to be affected, other parts of thinking function can be impaired. The 2013 DSM-5 manual lists these six types of cognitive function to consider: learning and memory, language, executive function, complex attention, perceptual-motor function, social cognition.
- The difficulties are a decline from the persons prior level of ability. These cant be lifelong problems with reading or math or even social graces. These problems should represent a change, compared to the persons usual abilities as an adult.
- The problems are bad enough to impair daily life function. Its not enough for a person to have an abnormal result on an office-based cognitive test. The problems also have to be substantial enough to affect how the person manages usual life, such as work and family responsibilities.
- The problems are not due to a reversible condition, such as delirium, or another reversible illness. Common conditions that can cause or worsen dementia-like symptoms include hypothyroidism, depression, and medication side-effects.
- The problems arent better accounted for by another mental disorder, such as depression or schizophrenia.
If Youre Worried About Possible Dementia
Lets say youre like the man I spoke to recently, and youre worried that an older parent might have dementia. Youre planning to have a doctor assess your parent. Heres how you can help the process along:
- Obtain copies of your parents medical information, so you can bring them to the dementia evaluation visit. The most useful information to bring is laboratory results and any imaging of the brain, such as CAT scans or MRIs. See this post for a longer list of medical information that is very helpful to bring to a new doctor.
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How Does A Doctor Test For Alzheimers
When you see a doctor regarding memory loss, they will conduct a series of tests to determine the symptoms and causes of the changes in your behavior. These tests are not an exact science yet, but they will help the doctor develop an overall picture of your brain health. You should take these tests as soon as possible to receive the best treatment and plan for the future. When in doubt as to whether to see the doctor, it is best to lean on the side of caution.
Your doctor will not rely on one or two test results alone. There are several diagnostic tools that he or she will use to pinpoint any memory loss problems.
The first thing any doctor will do is get your complete medical history, including any medication you are taking. This data will include your familys medical history as well to determine any genetic risks.
This history gathering will be following by laboratory tests to eliminate any causes of the memory loss, such as thyroid problems, diabetes and kidney issues, and faulty drug interactions. These lab tests usually involve blood and urine tests, and the taking of vital signs. The doctor will have a thorough discussion about lifestyle and habits.
As a final option, the doctor will suggest and/or perform cognitive tests.