The main aim of getting the right diagnosis for dementia on time is to make sure that in case there are any symptoms or conditions that can be treated or reversed, it is done in time. In some instances, especially in case of patients who are senior citizens, the signs and symptoms of severe depression and dementia are almost the same, as both cause confusion and inability to be active. In such a scenario, if the right diagnosis is done on time, it will be easier for the medical team to treat depression and reverse the symptoms.
In most cases, if you suspect your loved one is suffering from dementia, it is better to take the help of a proper team of experts, instead of just relying on one particular doctor. To get the best diagnosis and the most accurate results, try to work with a team of medical experts that contains a geriatrician (a physician who is specifically trained to work with senior citizens), a psychiatrist (to check for mood changes and behavioural symptoms), a neurologist and a neuropsychologist (a physician who will carry on various tests to check for any degeneration of cognitive or behavioural symptoms).
Based on the condition of the patient and the way the symptoms are, the medical team will take the following steps to diagnose dementia in a patient:
1. Looking Into Family Medical History
One of the first things that the medical team will do is to look into the familyäó»s medical history to check for any past case of dementia. The doctors will question the patient and the family member about any current or past illness or condition, any chronic disease, any type of surgery, trauma or injury the patient may have suffered. This will help the doctors understand if there is any other health issue that is causing the dementia like symptoms.
2. Checking About Past And Present Medication
Various medications can lead to some types of allergies or reactions that may lead to memory loss or confusion. Checking the prescription can help the doctors to figure out any link the medication may have with the present symptoms. In some cases, taking an overdose can also cause symptoms such as forgetfulness and memory lapse, which can look like dementia.
3. Do A Proper Physical Assessment
The doctors will schedule the patient for various additional tests such as blood pressure, checking for hearing and vision abilities, checking pulse rate as well as other aspects of regular physical health. In addition, the doctors will also schedule various tests to check for heart ailments, any artery blockage, infection, allergy, hypertension, renal failure and the like.
4. Conduct Additional Lab Tests
In addition to performing the various physical assessment tests, the doctors will also schedule the patient for additional lab tests such as blood tests, diabetes screening and more.
5. Neurological And Neuropsychological Tests
A neurological exam will have a motor system examination to check the level of movement for the patient, checking for reflexes as well as sensory functions, as well as looking into any issues the patient may have with the nervous system or the brain. A neuropsychological test will include various tests to check for cognitive abilities such as speech and language, memory skills to check for memory lapse and such.
Having dementia does not merely mean forgetting things, or forgetting things does not necessarily mean that a person has dementia. It is important to make sure that the patient is rightly diagnosed on time, so that all necessary treatments can be carried out on time.