Alzheimers disease diagnosis One of the most dreaded moments for anyone is to hear a neurologist say, "It appears that you have early stage Alzheimer's disease."
Physicians report that an increasing number of of their mid-life patients concerned about the state of their memory. Those in their 40's who misplace keys or their cell phone wonder, "Is this is a first sign?" Someone coming to a parking lot thinking, "Now where did I park the car?" may feel a pang of concern. "Am I starting with memory loss?
Testing. There IS NO SINGLE TEST for an Alzheimers disease diagnosis. And 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, s/he will do an 'assessment of mental functioning'. If it appears that there are problems, the neurologist will not 'jump to a conclusion' that you have Alzheimers.
Instead a good neurologist will systematically rule out other possible causes for any deterioration of your. You will probably undergo a series of diagnostic tests. BUT what is important to remember that at this stage of medicine none of these tests can be 'definitive'.
The science in this area of neurological diagnosis is just not as advanced as the science for diagnosis pneumonia, for example. In other words, an Alzheimers diagnosis will be made only when there appears to be no other practical diagnosis for deficits seen in a client.
It is really important to remember this. You do not want to have 'false hopes' BUT really 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 this has had 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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