Dementia is a progressive condition that can affect someone’s memory, thinking, behavior, and mood. It is estimated that more than 5 million Americans currently live with dementia. Early diagnosis is important to managing the condition, so it is important to know the signs and symptoms and what to do if you think you or someone you know may have dementia. Read on to learn more about how to get dementia diagnosed.
Know the Signs and Symptoms
It can be difficult to tell the difference between normal age-related memory changes and the early signs of dementia. Some common signs and symptoms to look for include:
- Memory loss, especially of recent events or conversations
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Confusion about time and place
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
- Withdrawal from social activities
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention right away. It is also important to talk to a doctor if you or someone you know has a family history of dementia.
Talk to Your Doctor
When you visit your doctor, be prepared to discuss any changes in symptoms you have noticed, any family history of dementia, and any medications you or the person you are seeking care for may be taking. Your doctor may order tests, such as a cognitive assessment, to determine if dementia is present. Some of these tests may include memory tests, language tests, problem-solving tests, and other tests to evaluate thinking and reasoning skills.
In addition to cognitive assessment tests, your doctor may order other tests or scans to rule out other possible causes for the symptoms. These may include blood tests, brain scans such as an MRI or CT scan, or other tests to look for underlying conditions that may be causing the symptoms. These tests are important to rule out other conditions, such as stroke or a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Get a Second Opinion
If you are still unsure whether you or someone you know has dementia, it is important to get a second opinion. This can help to ensure that a correct diagnosis is made and that any underlying conditions are ruled out. When seeking a second opinion, be sure to bring all medical records and test results with you.
Once a diagnosis of dementia is made, it is important to seek the help and support of family and friends. There are also many resources available to help those with dementia and their families, such as support groups, local organizations, and online resources. These resources can help provide education, support, and advice to help manage the condition.
If you think you or someone you know may have dementia, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Early diagnosis is important for managing the condition and getting the help and support that is needed. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any changes in symptoms you have noticed, any family history of dementia, and any medications you or the person you are seeking care for may be taking. Additionally, seek a second opinion and get support from family, friends, and local resources.