How Is Dementia Diagnosed?
Doctors employ a number of strategies to diagnose dementia. It is important that they rule out any treatable conditions, such as depression, normal pressure hydrocephalus, or vitamin B12 deficiency, which can cause similar symptoms. "
Early, accurate diagnosis of dementia is important for patients and their families because it allows early treatment of symptoms. For people with Alzheimer's disease or other progressive dementias, early diagnosis may allow them to plan for the future while they can still help to make decisions. These people also may benefit from drug treatment.
Doctors have devised a number of techniques to help identify dementia with reasonable accuracy such as asking questions about the patient's history, physical examination, neurological evaluations (balance, sensory function, reflexes, etc.), cognitive and neuropsychological tests (memory, language skills, math skills, problems solving, etc.), brain scans (computed tomographic (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), etc.), laboratory tests (blood tests, urinalysis, toxicology screen, thyroid tests, etc.), psychiatric evaluation, and presymptomatic testing (genetic tests).