Dementia cannot be diagnosed through a single test. A comprehensive evaluation, including a thorough medical history, mental status examination, laboratory tests, and imaging studies, is necessary for a physician to diagnose dementia.
Dementia shares similar symptoms with other medical conditions such as depression, stroke, alcoholism, hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, and brain tumors. However, unlike these conditions, dementia cannot be cured.
Therefore, it's crucial for doctors to rule out other illnesses before making a diagnosis of dementia. A misdiagnosis can have serious consequences. A comprehensive evaluation, including a thorough medical history, mental status exam, laboratory tests, and imaging studies, is necessary for an accurate diagnosis of dementia.
A comprehensive medical history not only enables physicians to rapidly determine the extent of dementia, but also to identify potential overdiagnosis.
Mental status exam
A doctor may assess a patient's mental status by asking questions that test their common sense, such as inquiring about the current date or year, or asking the patient to perform simple tasks such as repeating a phrase.
Blood and urine tests can assist physicians in determining whether symptoms are a result of medication.
Lab test terms may include
Thyroid hormone tests
Vitamin B12 blood test
Complete blood count(CBC)
ALT or AST blood test
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate blood test
Antinuclear antibodies blood test
CT scans and MRI are brain imaging tests which shows the damaged part of the brain