Alzheimers disease diagnosis One of the most dreaded moments it to hear a neurologist say, "It appears that you have early stage Alzheimer's disease."
Adults worry about it. Physicians report an increasing number of mid-life patients concerned about the state of their memory. Those in their 40's who misplace keys or cell phone wonder if this is a first sign. Someone coming out to a parking lot thinking, "Now where did I park the car?" may feel a pang of concern. Am I starting with Alzheimer's?
There IS NO SINGLE TEST for an Alzheimers disease diagnosis. There are many different things that can cause of memory loss that are not Alzheimers.
If you go to a neurologist with complaints about memory/brain functioning, he or she will do an assessment of mental functioning. If it appears that there are deficits, the neurologist will not 'jump to a conclusion' that this is Alzheimers. Instead a good neurologist will systematically rule out other possible causes for deterioration in your brain function. There will be a series of diagnostic tests - BUT remember that at this stage of medicine none of these is 'definitive'.
In other words, Alzheimers diagnosis will be made when there appears to be no other practical diagnosis for deficits seen in a client. It is very important to remember this. Do not to have false hopes BUT mistakes have been made. Some persons have been misdiagnosed and the non-diagnosis of their real condition has led to delays in treatment....and in some cases with serious consequences.
If you are concerned about mind and memory issues in yourself or someone you care about, do read this list of other often overlooked causes for cognitive issues. Be sure that each one has been ruled out before you accept an Alzheimers disease diagnosis:
Now, if in the end your neurologist concludes that it must be Alzheimers, I urge you to read two books. they are really helpful.
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